n Journal of Public Administration - Accountability, responsiveness and openness : lessons from Life Esidimeni Arbitration and Black Sash/SASSA litigation

Volume 54 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767


The South African democratic project sets admirably high principles for officials in the public service. Public administration must occur within the precincts of a set of values and principles. These encompass a high standard of professional ethics using public resources in an efficient, economic and effective manner; providing services impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias; being responsive to people's needs; and engaging and encouraging the public to participate in policy making. In addition, public administration must be accountable and transparent by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information. The Life Esidimeni Arbitration and Black Sash/SASSA litigation (Black Sash I, Black Sash II, Black Sash III and SASSA) are enormously consequential. They raise more fundamental issues about the extent to which the conduct of public office bearers and public functionaries are at variance with the embedded constitutional tri-norms of accountability, responsiveness and openness. The ubiquitous role of the judiciary in promoting and reinforcing basic values and principles governing public administration is the immediate concern of this paper.

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