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South Africa: The Role of Ethics in Public Life
Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201306060304.html
Source Date: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: South Africa
Created: Jul 18, 2013

The seminar brought together various stakeholders to discuss the issue. The Public Protector, the Auditor-General, the Director-General of the Public Service Commission and the Acting Head of the Special Investigating Unit all delivered presentations. Mr Mashile said he hoped the debates at the seminar would inform the review of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament.
Mr Cedric Frolick, House Chairperson of the National Assembly, said in his opening remarks that if the rules or Code of Conduct did not apply to current conditions, they would have to be reviewed and clarified. He said a Code of Conduct should not only be based on punishment for Members of Parliament, but should also serve as a guideline on how public representatives should conduct themselves.
The Auditor-General, Mr Terence Nombembe, emphasised the issue of consequences for those found guilty of transgressing codes of conduct. The Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela, said that the fact that South Africa does not have a universal code of ethics is a challenge, as the different spheres of government and all other institutions each have their own codes. "It would help if there was a transversal code of conduct."
Prof Richard Levin, Director-General at the Public Service Commission, repeated the need for consequences for those found guilty of wrongdoings and went further to state that consequences also needed to be standardised.
Prof Ben Turok, Co-Chairperson of the Committee, said in his closing remarks that the Committee should work on the challenge raised by Mr Frolic, that if the current Codes are inadequate they should be reviewed. He agreed that consequences also needed to be reviewed. "We need to set the right tone but that does not mean we should be running roughshod over the rights of Members [of Parliament]," he said. He is in favour of a transversal Code of Conduct.
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