n South African Journal of Labour Relations - Conflict of interest : ethical dilemma in politics and administration

Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0379-8410
  • E-ISSN: 2520-3223



This paper addresses the subject of conflict of interest: an ethical dilemma in politics and administration. Conflict of interest denotes a situation in which an employee has a private financial interest sufficient to influence, or appear to influence, the exercise of his or her public duties. A primary reason for concern about conflicts of interest is that they reduce public trust and confidence in the integrity and impartiality of public functionaries. The subject of this article is the categories of conflict of interest, conflict of interest's overlap with corruption and measures for combating conflict of interest. Different categories of conflict of interest that are identified and explained include the use of inside knowledge and influence, self-dealing, the misuse of government property, outside employment, post-employment, gift-giving traditions and entertainment, influence peddling and personal conduct. Measures for combating conflict of interest include oversight bodies, judicial institutions and commissions of inquiry. Oversight bodies include the Public Protector, the Auditor-General and the Public Service Commission.. To effectively fight conflict of interest, the government should implement the recommendations of these oversight bodies, no matter who may be involved. Failure to implement their recommendations damages the image of oversight bodies.

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