Ethics, accountability and democracy as pillars of good governance : case of South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    In postcolonial and post-apartheid contemporary Africa, ethics, accountability and democracy are usually divorced. This article argues that the three are inseparable; and, where they are divorced, the consequences can be catastrophic. It is further argued that democracy constitutes more than just voting. It is also about holding the government accountable for their actions. This is possible if citizens exercise their rights as well as impose principles that promote and strengthen democracy. For early Greek philosophers, citizenship had a moral and political dimension; namely: participation in public affairs, which is also referred to as civic virtue. The article argues that without democratic principles, there can be no democracy. For this reason, it is reasonable for citizens to expect professional behaviour from public officials, especially the President and his cabinet ministers. For this to happen, there is need to establish an ethical foundation or moral framework in government, which goes beyond ethical codes of conduct.