‘Friendship is not something you can put in a budget’. Today, March 2 2013, these powerful words were sincerely spoken by a great leader, Dr Zweli Mkhize, Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal and Treasurer-General of the ANC (African National Congress). The message came from his heart.
Let me give you the background: With our national budget having been presented last week, our provincial budget this week and February 28 being the end of the financial year for many businesses in South Africa, the allocation of financial resources and plans for the future are ‘hot’ topics at present.
So, it was with interest that I attended a Post-Budget (National) function this morning organised by the accounting firm Morar Incorporated. The guest speaker, the Honorable National Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Musa Nene eloquently addressed the audience explaining the impact of the national budget and the importance of various background factors. And he effectively answered the questions posed by the audience.
Amongst the dignitaries present were the First Lady of the Province, Dr May Mkhize, two mayors and many other important guests. The Premier, who has also recently been appointed as the Treasurer-General of the African National Congress (so is one of the five on President Jacob Zuma’s national leadership team) had another engagement so had tendered apologies. But being the committed person that he is, he was still able to arrive and was then asked to spontaneously ‘say a few words’. That man is amazing! I follow his leadership style with great interest.
His message brought tears of joy to the eyes of many who were present. I wish every South African could have heard his message. He gives us great hope for the future and so does his wonderful wife, our First Lady, Dr May Mkhize.
The gist of his sincere message was that as South Africans we need to ‘see each other as one’.
In essence to make a better life for everyone it is essential that we incorporate:
- The economy
- Social issues
- Goodwill – how we deal with each other.
It is necessary for us to address the economy. He spoke of our paying a great deal of attention to the ‘hard things’, those that appear in a budget. And that is important. And we have to fight social issues like crime and disease.
But, in addition to the above two elements, people should bring the issue back to ourselves. We need to address our goodwill and generosity towards each other. We should think in terms of ‘how can I help you’? It is important that there is a spirit of generosity. We can have all the money we require, but unless we are generous towards each other, whatever we have is not going to help.
He spoke about the intangible issues like ‘commitment’ which he described as ‘the creative face of goodwill’. He stressed the importance of friendship. ‘There is no price to generosity.’ ‘We need to offer our skills to help the next person, thus giving them hope.’ Hope and relevance go together. He gave an example: ‘If I have hope, I look after myself and value others, thus (I am more likely to be constructive and) less likely to cause harm’.
‘We need to see a different future. It should start with us.’
Comment: I believe that our Premier is correct. It is essential that we combine the ‘hard issues’ and the ‘soft issues’ in order to achieve the desirable outcomes. In coaching terms, there should be a combination of ‘head’ and ‘heart’. And then we need to take appropriate action so that the ripple effects impact positively on as many lives as possible. Each of us is accountable and ‘friendship does not need a budget’.