Trevor Manuel Speaks about identity and building teams
He said the country’s biggest challenge was trying to forge unity, togetherness and purpose in the new dispensation.
Addressing, Unleashing Leadership Potential, an organisation that grooms young and aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs through leadership training programmes, Manuel said South Africa’s context of identity is espoused in the South African constitution and the Freedom Charter that goes beyond race, tribalism and ethnicity.
“If you understand identity within the context of non-racialism, you can understand why both the Employment Equity Act and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment are important to the development of everyone in this country,” he said.
Manuel added that once you discover the real identity, the next step is to identify what one would like to achieve.
“As an achievement, most people will tell you they want lots of money. However, money is not an achievement but a means to what you would like to achieve. Mere accumulation of wealth cannot be an objective. There are a series of things that we have to do, and it involves ploughing back,” he said.
Manuel said in order to meet one’s objectives, it was important to have a team.
“It is in building teams that we divide responsibilities and create accountabilities for what we want to do. Without a team you will not achieve those things you want,” he said.
He also pointed out that, how people related to one another in a team determined the respect each had for the other.
“It is not about how much money or authority one has over the other individual. It’s about respect. The essence of respect is “ubuntu”. If someone disrespects me then we will have a fundamental disagreement. However, the difference of opinion should not allow us to disrespect one another.”
Manuel recalled that during the time he served as a minister of trade and industry and later as Finance minister, there was always a formidable team around him that was strong willed and committed to working together. “That’s what made us capable of doing what we were able to do for the country.”
In conclusion, he said that the ability to subject oneself to the accountability of those around you even if you might not be at the same level, is actually a strength that we should multiply because it is so true to what defines us as South Africans.