EthicsSA’s project on local government anti-corruption continued in May through the “ethics interactive workshop” awareness and training programme.
Prof Willem Landman conducted these workshops at the Hibiscus Coast Municipality in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, which was aimed at municipal officials (management echelons) and also members of council.
Two sessions were held on 15 May with management officials. The sessions were interactive and interesting, in that there were reflections, concerns, and views about ethics which encouraged robust debates throughout the day. Indeed the aim was to get them talking on issues around ethical and moral conduct. The municipal officials spent a lot of time discussing issues of common interest to them, and the municipality at large. The content was appreciated and that was evident in the way that management officials could relate to issues on discussion, whether in practical or theoretical terms.
A session was held on 16 May with council members. This session was equally interesting and filled with ethics-related cases that had been investigated over the years. The discussions were also made interesting with the use of an appreciative inquiry on both days, to examine and reflect on how the officials and councillors felt when they started working at the municipality, what kind of progress they would like to see in future, and the things they appreciate most about their workplace.
Having completed all sessions at the Hibiscus Coat Municipality, there was an after-feeling of contempt on part of both the management officials and the members of council. They shared common ground in the realization that ethics-related matters were evident and had a bearing on the improved service delivery that they strive to achieve. Although they felt that they had too little time to further engagement on these issues, they also felt that the workshop was necessary to rekindle their moral stance and understanding of ethics particular to the workplace.