MINI-FORUM: ADVANCING PUBLIC SERVICE PERFORMANCEImpact of Accountability and Ethicson Public Service Delivery:A South African PerspectiveLearn how South Africa’s Constitution of 1996, by requiring all governmentdepartments to observe particular codes of conduct, is attempting to improveaccountability and ethics in public service delivery—specifically at the local level. KISHORERAGA■DEREKTAYLORIntroductionEthics are as important for the public servant asblood for the body. The public sector, likeindividuals, is constantly changing throughnew leadership, environmental influences, andsociopolitical development. Government and societycannot promote and enforce ethical behavior solelythrough the utilization of ethical codes of conduct or thepromulgation of a plethora of legislation. Social mind-sets often are still entangled in a micro-ethic paradigm.People tend to think of moral values and norms asapplying only to personal relations. South Africa needsan organizational culture that not only supports ethicalbehavior, but sees that it also defines and underpins rightand wrong conduct individually and institutionally. Theconcept of interrelatedness corresponds with theAfrican concept of ubuntu, which means brotherlinessand good neighborliness. What affects one’s brother,directly or indirectly, also affects oneself. In South Africa, the proliferation of ethical codes ofconduct, public accountability, and the promulgation ofa number of pieces of legislation will likely fail tothwart unethical behavior unless the public and publicofficials are inculcated with particular dispositions, atti-tudes, and virtues for guiding human conduct. Forexample, because public officials in South Africa oper-ate in a diverse society, their ethical convictions andaccountability to its populace are bound to be tested.Training in ethics is essential to ensure that officials actconfidently, knowing they have organizational support,rendering efficient, effective, ethical, and accountablepublic service. The South African government has launched anambitious initiative—Batho Pele, or “people first”—apublic service improvement program across the nationat all levels. One element of this program is the changemanagement engagement, which promotes a new publicservice belief set: “We belong, we care, we serve.” Tocomply with Batho Pele, departments must set andmeasure standards for each of their services. Batho Peleuses visits, spot-checks, and inspections to assess com-pliance with its requirements.Dr. Kishore Ragais head of the Department of PublicManagement at the Nelson Mandela MetropolitanUniversity, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Dr. DerekTayloris interim programme leader, PostgraduateProgrammes in Public Administration and Management,Faculty of Arts, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.