We Need An Ethics-Driven Public Sector

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By Surihe Gaomas

WINDHOEK – Urgent attention is needed to instil a culture of efficient and effective work ethics within the Public Service and to nullify corruption and maladministration.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Libertina Amathila, said this when she launched the 13th celebration of Africa Day of the Public Service and Administration in Windhoek.

Amathila said more emphasis should be placed on public servants to deliver an “ethics-driven public service.”

“We must seriously look into the codes of conduct available and address the shortcomings. Where we do not have codes of conduct, it is important to develop them, so that our daily work efforts are stringently guided by such codes”.

Although African Pubic Service Day, or APSD, is commemorated on June 23rd every year, Namibia last Friday held festivities to mark the event.
The main theme for this year’s anniversary is: “Promoting Good Governance with Emphasis on Anti-Corruption and Ethics.”

In Namibia and Africa, APSD is commemorated with the objective of raising awareness in providing and delivering quality public service to all citizens.
The day is also meant to draw due attention to the working conditions and quality of public servants who devote their lives to serving the public diligently.

It appears Namibians have still not adopted strong work ethics, especially in the public service. Ultimately such a situation, critics fear, will give rise to corruption, non-transparency and maladministration.

Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia, Dr. Zephania Kameeta, said that for citizen-centred service delivery to prevail, Namibians must learn to be punctual at work at all times.

” If I know my work starts at eight in the morning, I should not come five minutes late. If so, that is corruption. We don’t have work ethics and that is a problem for all of us in Namibia. This (work ethics) is long overdue, and it should be done now,” Kameeta stressed.

Public service delivery should therefore be conducted in a timely, honest, respectful and diligent manner, thereby doing away with corruption. Kameeta noted that arrogance of power humiliates and violates human rights and also makes service delivery completely impossible.

“Public servants should not only care about the cheques or salaries they get at the end of the month, but should refrain from getting involved in corrupt activities. Everyone is equal, so standing behind a counter does not make you less important than the one standing in front of the counter,” explained Kameeta.

Although Namibia has scored high in service delivery in the latest Citizen Survey of the United Nations Economic Committee for Africa, more still needs to be done.

In view of this, the Ombudsman, Advocate John Walters, challenges all government ministries to commit themselves to better service delivery and thereby reclaim their trust as public servants.

“Let us trust the public whom we have to deal with on a daily basis to judge us not as secretive, power-hungry individuals who want to conduct our business under disguise, but as individuals cognizant of the needs of our people and striving to meet those needs with humility, dignity and integrity”.

The Office of the Prime Minister is reviewing public sector service delivery through an ongoing Performance Management System. PMS was adopted on June 23, 2004.

PMS is a management tool through which open lines of communication are achieved between the various stakeholders within the public sector for efficient and effective public service delivery.

During the same occasion, the Deputy Prime Minister launched the African Public Service Day, or APSD, website under the Office of the Prime Minister.

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