n Journal of Public Administration - Building a humanitarian public service imbued with strong ethics and values : in honour of great leaders of our time : editorial

Volume 50, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This September edition of the is a collection of articles that reflect and close an era of the great public servants of our time. It challenges future generations to take the baton of humanitarianism and make it a reality for service delivery, human development, responsible leadership and ethical behaviour in the conduct of public affairs. For reasons of context, the edition starts with an article that asks an important question, which has always been a firmament of the disciplinary discourse: Is public administration a science? This question is important in theorising humanitarian public service. A reflection on it is followed by an argument for African public administration theory. Yet another article that contextualises the thematic thrust of this edition determines the meaning and significance of "conscience"' and "consciousness" in public leadership. Following this are articles on state transformation, one focusing on class dynamics, while the other asks the question of whether South Africa is a developmental state. In situating South Africa in world affairs, a question is asked in the article that follows those on state transformation: are country rankings neo-liberal tools or perceptions? Against the context set by all these articles, a humanitarian public service is theorised in the analyses of the leadership traits of Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Mohandas Gandhi. The theorisation continues with a discourse on "public service by, of and for the public". This is followed by an article on the critical analysis of the post-1994 administrative culture. Induction training is emphasised as important to achieve a humanitarian public service.

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