n Journal of Public Administration - Professionalism : the ethical challenge for municipal employees

Volume 36, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This paper examines the role of professionalism in promoting effective, efficient, impartial, fair, equitable and ethical municipal service delivery. The paper starts by identifying relevant literature on the topic. It further focuses on the identification of the characteristics of a profession. These characteristics include: intensive compulsory education at recognised educational institutions as prerequisite for entry, existence of a code of conduct, organising into a professional association, a monopoly in a particular field of work and intellectual rather than manual work. These characteristics are used as yardsticks to determine whether public administration (hence municipal administration) is a profession or not. Attention is paid to the role of municipal administration education and training in promoting professionalism. The role of the Institute for Local Government Management of South Africa in promoting professionalism has been identified. The professional roles of municipal managers are identified and explained. These roles are acknowledging politics, acting as leaders, promoting ethics and acknowledging workplace diversity. It is concluded that municipal employees must be willing to pay the price for choosing to uphold their obligations as citizens (as whistle-blowers) in the face of governmental corruption and irresponsible conduct. The price they must be willing to pay include victimisation.

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