Governance must be grounded in reality

Margaret Ferguson, Kirstenhof

In Jacques Moolman’s last paragraph (“SA faces law of unintended consequences,” Bulletin September 9), he brings out an important point about the current national situation, which is that common sense has been abandoned in favour of grand theory even if well intentioned.

As a UK citizen, formerly involved in politics in the UK, I agree with this point but would just interpret that in my political language, “grand theory” is ideology and “common sense” is reality. The whole matter of governance for it to work has to be based on reality.

Certainly, policy is acceptable in many walks of life and that includes governance. But when the “rubber hits the road” it is a case of what is workable. That is reality.

The job of politicians is to make policy and it is the job of their senior management in the relevant government departments to help them to implement it within the constraints of the situation that exists – the reality. That should apply to all legislatures.

Politicians are not necessarily experts in the field that they oversee from a political point of view, but they need to know how to obtain the right advice and that advice needs to be available in the government departments – without fear or favour.

Within a democracy, the electorate needs to feel confident that the management of government departments is not influenced in any way by party policy but is simply acting in a professional capacity regardless of the policy of a particular political party – again “without fear or favour”.