Monday, April 21, 2014

Batho Pele Principles: Dead or Alive: part two

Only 5% of all municipalities across South Africa received clean audits. (Source: Auditor-General Terence Nombembe) In assessing the financial management of the country’s municipalities, Nombembe’s report addresses two crucial failures: a debilitating lack of leadership, and a lack of accountability. This is evident, for example, in the number of municipalities that could not even manage to get their financial records completed on time for auditing. But this sorry state of affairs is unfortunately not a recent phenomenon and raises the deeply troublesome question of why it has been allowed to continue for so long. Neither is it a surprise revelation that local government has persistently been vulnerable to exploitation and corruption. But how does one fix it?

When one studies the Batho Pele principles one is impressed with the clear solid way of doing things.  Having dealt with people management issues in a corporate and consulting way for more than 30 years, my suggestion would be that these principles have to be backed up by solid Character First principles and that sound character-based roundtable discussions, practices and procedures with sound annual measurements must be the non-negotiable way forward. This is what is missing! See diagram below.

Character First Qualities
Consultation: You can tell us what you want from us
You should be consulted about the level and quality of the public services you receive and, wherever possible, should be given a choice about the services that are offered.
Availability, Compassion
Dependability, Initiative,
Responsibility and
Service standards: Insist that our standards are maintained
You should be told what level and quality of public services you will receive so that you are aware of what to expect.
Decisiveness, Diligence,
Faith. Gentleness,
Obedience and Punctuality
Access: One and all should get their fair share
You and all citizens should have equal access to the services to which you are entitled.
Attentiveness, Flexibility,
Loyalty, Thoroughness,
Tolerance and Virtue

Courtesy: Don’t accept insensitive treatment
You should be treated with courtesy and consideration.
Benevolence, Cautiousness,
Discretion, Generosity,
Honour, Hospitality and
Information: You are entitled to full particulars
You should be given full, accurate information about the public services you are entitled to receive
Determination, Discernment,
Orderliness, Persuasiveness,
Security and Sincerity
Openness and transparency: Administration must be an open book
You should be told how national and provincial departments are run, how much they cost and who is in charge.
Boldness, Deference,
Enthusiasm, Humility, Justice,
Sensitivity and Truthfulness
Redress: Your complaints must spark positive action
If the promised standard of service is not delivered, you should be offered an apology, a full explanation and effective remedy. When complaints are made, you should receive a sympathetic, positive response.
Alertness, Creativity,
Endurance, Forgiveness,
Joyfulness, Meekness
Money value: Your money should be used wisely
Public services should be provided economically and efficiently in order to give you the best possible value for money.
Contentment, Gratefulness,
Resourcefulness , Self-control, Wisdom and

We cannot afford to drop the baton and it is not too late. I would love to assist all municipalities to incorporate a character-based culture in their environment. Let’s start the movement now!
Contact Dr Mario Denton at  for implementation of Character-based leadership principles in your organisation

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