Recent admissions by the ministers of defence and justice reveal worrying declines  in the functioning of their departments. As usual, more money is seen as a remedy. But there is a heartening change of tone. For the first time in our national debate, the “E-word” — ethics — is being used.

Both ministers pointed to a lack of ethical behaviour in their departments. This new theme was endorsed in the ANC’s discussion document prepared for the ensuing national general council meeting. Besides the E-word (“ethical decay”) the “M-word” was — unusually — uttered: there was “no culture of meritocracy in government”.

This is good news. An emphasis on ethics and merit has been missing from our national debate. Perhaps we can look forward to more of  this healing process amid the gloom?

Willem Cronje
Via e-mail

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