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The RARE Leadership Model, Jacob Zuma and Nkandla: Thoughts on the Virtues of Leadership

Craig Bailie


Scholarly and journalistic work on the critical state of leadership in Africa abound. Hellicy Ngambi (2011) attributes Africa’s poor development, despite its wealth of diversity in natural and human resources, to leadership issues that need to be explored, considered and addressed. To confront the development challenges of a continent diverse in human and natural resources she proposes her principal and value-based, RARE (Responsible, Accountable, Relevant and Ethical) leadership model, as the most effective leadership approach. Popular perceptions suggest that, under the leadership of Jacob Zuma, the reality surrounding the leadership of many African countries has now also become the reality of South Africa. This article makes a distinction between ‘leadership as influence’ and ‘leadership with character’ – the latter embodied in the attributes of Ngambi’s RARE leadership model. Ngambi recommends that further studies be conducted to explore the application of RARE leadership. Referring to the controversial Nkandla case, in which unlawful conduct and maladministration was found to have occurred in relation to the upgrades of Jacob Zuma’s private residence, this paper explores the applicability of the RARE leadership model to an assessment of the leadership of South Africa’s president.     

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