♦♦♦    Pay Back The Money    ♦♦♦

Nkandla Lessons (#2)

The subject here is investigations (not politics or the behaviour of people / parties in parliament). Nonetheless, there is one thing to be said for young, outspoken Julius Malema. He promised in his election campaign that “parliament will never be the same again” and that “we will represent the worker”. He is most definitely delivering on his promises with his red overall brand and challenging the ruling party on all fronts!

picture of newspaper article entitled Pay Back the Money

The fundamental lessons that one can learn from the Nkandla[1] saga in terms of investigations are:

  • A problem does not go away because it is ignored.
  • Don’t hide behind “we are waiting on the investigation / report”.
  • Investigations are best done by an independent, unbiased and trusted resource.
  • Launching a new investigation because you don’t like the outcome of a previous investigation will only make matters worse.
  • Follow the 3F-Principle. Investigations should be done Fast. They should be Fair to all parties concerned and the action taken should be Firm.
  • For an investigation to be credible, there should be transparency and full disclosure.

Furthermore the parties involved have to take responsibility for their actions and decisions and face the consequences.

Unfortunately, in the last 20 years or so, the involvement of legal teams in incident investigations has bedevilled the real objective of safety investigations, i.e. to find the root causes and take action to prevent a re-occurrence. Instead, enquiries bear more resemblance to court cases, where people and companies feel prosecuted / threatened and hence have the need for a solid defence in their corner[2].

[1]   NKANDLA is a new project management acronym which stands for:
                Nobody  Knows  Anything  Nothing  Done  Like  Agreed

[2]   Marikana and the ‘Arms Deal’ are two shining examples of this.

ACTION

  • Follow the 3F-Principle for incident investigations in your company. Do the investigation Fast, be Fair to all involved and be seen to be Firm.
  • Make the outcome of the investigation known to all employees and act promptly on the recommendations.

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