DSI launches new strategy to promote ethical behaviour among employees

Officials of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) have been reminded of the need to serve the public with ethical awareness and actions.

The Department introduced a new Ethics Management Strategy on Tuesday, 20 September, as part of Public Service Month, and all DSI officials signed a pledge promising to be truthful and honest in their dealings with stakeholders, to follow the Public Service Code of Conduct, and to maintain the highest ethical standards as employees of the DSI.

The Department of Public Service and Administration launched Ethics Week on Monday, 19 September, as a call to action in the fight against corruption and maladministration in the public service. The Ethics Management Strategy, developed by Human Resource Management, is a new instrument, which holds all employees to account in respect of ethical and responsible business, internally and externally. It is aimed at ensuring that ethics is governed at strategic level and managed at operational level, and that unethical behaviour is dealt with consistently and fairly. The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela, said ethics was an important instrument that would safeguard the integrity and ethos of organisations in South Africa.

The Deputy Minister said that adopting the strategy would assist the Department to execute its mandate of using science, technology and innovation to achieve sustainable socio-economic development for all. "The architects of our democracy reimagined the ethical foundations of our public service as a consequence of the adopted Constitution and related legal and policy instruments," Deputy Minister Manamela stated. He said the new White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation embraced the need for a transformed public service to address the needs of all South Africans.

The Director-General, Dr Phil Mjwara, said that the South African public service faced various challenges, despite having legislative and regulatory frameworks in place. "Adhering to our code of ethics will ensure that the public receives what it needs, and give the administration guidelines for integrity in its operations," said Dr Mjwara.

The Deputy Director-General: Institutional Planning and Support, Ms Gugu Zwane, said the Department would assess its commitment to the strategy annually, and review the status of its implementation biannually. The Department's Ethics Committee will offer assistance in addressing ethical issues and facilitate sound decision-making that respects participants' values, concerns and interests, while ethics ambassadors will assist senior management in promoting ethics on the front line.

Supporting the implementation of the new strategy are lifestyle audits, financial disclosures, the declaration of gifts received, the requirement for permission to undertake remunerative work outside the public service, the prohibition on employees doing business with the state, and whistle blowing. This year's Public Service Month kicked off on 29 August under the theme "Batho Pele revitalisation – Walking the talk" and will end on 1 October.

The Batho Pele principles are intended to make public servants service-oriented, and get them to strive for excellence in service delivery and commit to continuous service delivery improvement. During the Public Service Month, the country will also observe the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of South Africa into law, and promote the constitutional values and principles for public administration enshrined in section 195 of the Constitution.



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