TRUST – The social glue required for effective Governance

The extent of citizen disengagement with a nation’s leadership, is a factor of the level of trust that the people have in the government’s ability to take the nation to new heights of Prosperity.

When public trust is at an all time low, a nation’s citizens search hard for elements of truth. They dissect every word in search of truth and meaning from politicians and the less convincing they are, the more angry and disengaged at nations people become.

When this happens, Governments begin to attract the wrath of people who take advantage of opportunities to disengage. This leads to heightened civil disobedience, especially against laws that appear to be unjust and in contravention of rationality. Al Gore, the ex vice president of the USA once said…“Civil disobedience has an honourable history. When the urgency and moral clarity cross a certain threshold, civil disobedience is quite understandable, and it has a role to play.”

Mistrust generates second guessing and places a strain on state/ citizen relationships. Heightened mistrust in leadership lowers productivity, and places a hidden tax on every transaction. Gross levels of mistrust, leads to a fragile state of affairs and causes positive energy and input to escape from the system of good governance.

Corruption is the single biggest citizen issue that erodes trust in government. According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer of the 2015 report, 83% of South Africans believe that corruption has increased in the past year.

Political parties, parliament and policing structure appear as the most concerning entities when it comes to the perception of corruption on the international stage. When it comes to business vs. government, aside a few Eastern based countries, government weighs in lower than business on the subject of trust. South Africa has a particularly large disconnect, and is rated the country with the lowest trust in government out of 28 countries surveyed by the Eidleman Trust Barometer, as depicted in their 2016 Global Study.

Leadership without trust is an oxymoron. Governments are unable to lead a nation with great effectiveness when a significant portion of its people lacks a belief and high level of trust in their ability doing the job. Sometimes, as is seen to be the case in South Africa, a skewed tax base used to feed to fear of the unknown, combined with a history of revolution, can lead to a political situation of a mistrusted government being able to retain sufficient power, albeit under declining conditions.