Creating a new ethical culture in the South African local government

30 Aug 2016

The new democratic government after 1994 ushered a new political structure and governance of public service in South Africa. The appointment of local government officials preceded the formation of local government with more expectations from the nation to adequately address the imbalances of the past and deliver services to communities in an ethical and democratic manner. The impact of ethical conduct of local officials on decision making is considered to have great potential on political power and public rights on access to the decision-making process. This article assesses the potential of creating an ethical environment in the local governance, by recognizing work culture as one of employees' determinants and attributes in local government. The promotion of professional service ethos within the South African local government manifest as acceptable behavior promulgated by laws and prescription, code of conduct and culture. The Proposed mechanisms for creating an ethical culture and environment encompass legislative and policy requirements, whistle-blowing, codes of conduct and values, ethical awareness at the work place and formal mechanisms. Findings and deliberations drawn from this article are useful in addressing perceived unethical behavior in local government and contribute towards promotion of good governance and public sector ethics.