GIFS leads sector appeal for everyday heroes to rise up in the fight against corruption

“GIFS is a patron of hope.” CEO Dr Kershen Pillay echoed the sentiment of many in the room as he addressed stakeholders at the Annual Future of Education Breakfast in Sandton in January.

Speaker after speaker made impassioned pleas for South Africans to take their future into their hands by doing more to speak out against corruption. Ethical leadership in education was the topic that spurred the audience to share views on what can be done to help ease the burden of allegations of rampant corruption in the higher education sector. The discussion was led by a panel of high-flying South Africans.

No stranger to speaking truth to power, Mr Wayne Duvenage, the CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), shared his view that there’s a tsunami of corruption in the higher education sector, saying it’s worse than what was uncovered during the Zondo Commission. Fellow panelist, Mrs Mpume Langa, the Managing Director of Maxim Industries Africa, agreed that South Africans are used to allowing government to make key decisions. Mr Sibusiso Mahlangu, the CEO of Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance, advocated for ordinary people to hold government to account.

Active citizenship should be everyone’s responsibility, added Duvenage. He acknowledged that while there is will from many South Africans, there’s insufficient support for whistleblowers.

Pillay, in his address, roused the audience with an appeal to speak out when wrongdoing occurs, quoting Albert Einstein, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” That view was also the bedrock of the keynote speaker’s address. The audience was in awe of former Deputy President and former Director of UN Women, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, when she said, “Ethical leaders are able to live with their conscience because whatever they do is always legitimate and without any reproach. We therefore need an educational system that can nurture and develop a new generation of ethical leaders.”

Stakeholders were in agreement that GIFS again demonstrated that it may be small in stature but is big in heart, especially when it comes to calling out corruption and unethical conduct.

01 February 2024