Martin Kuscus’s memoir is a potent lesson in how “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jam. 4:6). With a successful (and scandal-free) track record of four decades, he proved himself one of a rare breed of credible public sector leaders who shaped the South African democratic landscape for the better.
Like so many young men in our country, he grew up without a father, in poverty, in a township. He was expelled from high school and engaged in high-risk behaviour exacerbated by consuming (and selling) lots of alcohol. But then he defied his circumstances to become a nurse at Tshepong Hospital, and later rose to become an MEC of Finance, the CEO of the SABS, chairman of the Government Employee Pension Fund, and director of various JSE-listed companies in the health care, financial services, telecoms and built environment sectors. How? Through his astonishing humility, and the powerful grace of God on his life.
In Credibility Matters, Martin doesn’t dwell on the past – rather he relates personal experiences to contextualise strategic insights on how to become a trustworthy leader. He acknowledges the ever-present temptation to be ‘somebody’, the loneliness of leadership, the frustration in countering mediocrity, the difficulty in overcoming blind spots, and how missed opportunities can be costly.
“I know of no-one more qualified that Martin to speak on credibility and character in addressing one of the greatest needs of our age – credible, inclusive, authentic leadership that delivers for everyone,” writes Samuel Ogbu, Group CEO of Old Mutual West Africa.
There is an urgent call on emerging leaders everywhere to redefine the game of power, and live with admirable character in a world dominated by self-serving compromise. Reading Credibility Matters is a very good start.
Review by Lise-Marie Keyser