An exploratory study on public service compliance to the code of conduct and related issues on conflict of interest in South Africa

a leadership perspective

  • Fazela Mahomed Cape Town
  • Ile Isoma Uregu, Dr Cape Town


Leadership in many environments, micro or macro sets the tone of what is acceptable behaviour. Leaders should be exemplary in their conduct, as their conduct may be used as standards by those they lead. Being exemplary includes their compliance to various regulatory guides such as the Codes of Conduct. The authors argue that if leadership do not comply with the codes of conduct then employees will follow suit by disregarding various aspects of the Code. This will lead to indiscipline and institutionalise corruption in the South African public service hence; there should be zero tolerance for non-compliance of the codes, especially by leaders, but beyond that it should be about developing a new ethical culture more than just compliance. In the examining of the ethical conduct of employees, we will be looking specifically at the adherence to Codes of Conduct and issues related to conflict of interest, as financial disclosure is a requirement for public servants employed at senior management level. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the theoretical and legislative framework underpinning the ethical leadership in South Africa, and to reflect on the Code of Conduct and the impact on the ethical conduct of senior managers in the public service. This is with particular reference to managing conflict of interest within the stakeholders. It will also consider whether the disclosure and ethical provisions are adequate and or appropriate to promote appropriate levels of ethical conduct, and finally to assess the impact.

Author Biographies

Fazela Mahomed, Cape Town

National Parliment

Ile Isoma Uregu, Dr, Cape Town

University of the Western Cape