n Journal of Public Administration - Ethical fitness for accountable public officials : an imperative for good governance

Volume 42, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



There is a moral and ethical crisis in South Africa. It has reached such proportions that social pressure and pressure from government to stamp out corruption and fraud necessitated government institutions, business partners and tertiary instructions to have a re-look at where they stand regarding ethics, ethical leadership and ethical behaviour. One of the important outcomes of good governance among a variety of other outcomes is the effective ethical behaviour of political office-bearers and public officials. Good governance demands from political office-bearers and public officials to place greater emphasis on ethical conduct, accountability and professional skills, and will further highlight the value and importance of ethical leadership, accountability, ethics education and training. This article gives an operational meaning to the term ethics, ethical leadership and accountability. The importance of constitutional mechanisms, ethical guidelines, principles, code of conduct and measures to safeguard acceptable ethics and accountability in the public sector are then argued and motivated. It also distinguishes different challenges facing public institutions to train public managers and officials to promote sound ethical behaviour in the public sector. Strategies and actions to promote acceptable, effective and responsible behaviour by political office-bearers and public officials will furthermore be advanced.

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