The dentist who charges the patient for work not done and then claims from the medical aid. The dentist extracting perfectly healthy front teeth of a teenager in search of the passion gap. The married patient showing up with his “skelmpie” (girlfriend) for dental treatment on the family medical aid, which of course the wife or husband knows nothing about. The dentist using cheap materials for denture repairs, but continuing to charge the patient via the medical aid as if these were the approved but more expensive items. The list of corrupt practices in this profession alone is endless but extends to every facet of our society.

Ethical behaviour is a practice, something you do. The answer is not to include ethics in the curriculum and thereby hoping to change human behaviour.

You’re on your way to your beloved grandmother’s funeral. You’re late and let rip on the open high way. Out of nowhere a traffic cop jumps out of the bush and pulls you off the road. “Your journey ends here,” he drily informs you. You were travelling at 180km/h and that means you will be hauled off to the nearest magistrate’s court. But since this is Saturday morning, you will spend the weekend in the slammer until the courts resume on Monday. Fear rips through your body. You’ve heard all the horror stories on TV about what happens to decent people inside SA’s prison cells. Appearing in court means that the news of your arrest will be public knowledge; your reputation will take a knock. Then the cop informs you that it’s his birthday. What would you do? Please be honest. I posed that question to an audience of clergymen and women this week during a talk I gave on ethical leadership. It did not surprise me that several hands went up. Pay the bribe. Get on with your life. Save yoursel...

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