In a country like South Africa, it is easy to associate the public service with corruption and maladministration, but an organisation is trying to encourage civil servants to serve with distinction.
Accountability Lab has recognised public service employees that have taken their mandate beyond the call of duty.
The program, Integrity Idols is established to acknowledge and encourage service excellence from the public sector. Faith Pienaar of Accountability Lab says they want to show another side of government.
“The aim is to find and connect honest public servants.”
She says a lot of the narrative surrounding the public sector is negative and they want to help inspire others in the sector to emulate those who are thriving in serving the country.
Listen to Faith Pienaar below:
In its initial year, 2018, the initiative awarded six civil servants, two fire fighters, a police officer, a nurse, a doctor and a teacher.
Elizabeth Mkhondo, a nurse working with TB patients, from Stanza Bopape Clinic in Mamelodi , Tshwane says the award came as a surprise.
“Initially I was shocked, I didn’t realise that somebody is watching what I am doing on a day to day basis. I was just doing my job.” She says she is encouraged to go the extra mile because her work doesn’t only affect the individual taking treatment, but it has a positive impact on that patient’s family as well.
Listen to Sister Elizabeth Mkhondo below:
Another Integrity Idol, Deon Esau, a Fire Station commander from Johannesburg runs a safety related initiative for children in the inner city. He says the initiative was initially funded but after the funding stopped, they together with his partner, Jocelin Flank decided to carry on with it and fund it themselves.
Listen to Fire Station commander, Deon Esau below:
Pienaar says it’s is important to have this campaign in a country like ours “South Africa needs a positive story, a hope story”, she says the country is in desperate need of positivity.
Pienaar says the public is encouraged to take part by nominating their public servant (in the Health, Education, Safety and Security, Justice and Constitutional Development categories) heroes through the following platforms – WhatsApp, sms and website. You can submit your nomination via a WhatsApp line – 063 311 8397 or by dialing *120*1061# or visit integrityidol.org.