Call for public officials to take up ethics online course

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Public service and administration minister Senzo Mchunu has directed government departments to ensure that officials enrol for the compulsory “Ethics in the Public Service” online course offered by the National School of Government (NSG).

This comes amid ongoing corruption reports within the ANC-led government, with reports of tenders for personal protective equipment that have been given to individuals associated with ANC leaders and of public servants flouting the law in issuing tenders.

According to a statement, the NSG has developed the online course in collaboration with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the office of the Public Service Commission.

“Ethical conduct and organisational integrity are key in eradicating fraud and corruption in the public service. As the training arm of government, it is therefore imperative that the NSG implements a training programme that will equip public officials with the skills and competencies to make ethical decisions, to develop organisational integrity, to prevent fraud and combat corruption in the public sector,” says Mchunu.

In the 2019 State of the Nation Address, president Cyril Ramaphosa indicated the NSG will be implementing a suite of compulsory programmes to professionalise the public service. Ethics in the Public Service is one of the courses in the compulsory suite.

Section 195 of the Constitution of South Africa envisages a public service that will promote a high standard of professional ethics. The DPSA says it envisages that by providing ethics training, it will give effect to this constitutional principle and enable the state to function more efficiently.

“This course is relevant for employees in the public service at all levels as it will help them understand the revised Code of Conduct outlined in chapter two of the Public Service Regulations as well as serve as a tool for ethics officers to institutionalise ethics standards within their organisations.”

The department says the content of the course will enable officials to reflect on their own values and behaviour in the workplace, recognise common areas of ethical dilemmas for public service employees, apply the core ethical values and standards contained in prescripts which have relevance for the conduct of employees in the public service, and uphold and promote professional ethics in the workplace.

The course is open and available at no cost to the government departments.

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