THE recent debacle surrounding President Jacob Zuma has brought to light an important feature in service delivery by government departments: trust.
The Department of Home Affairs is entrusted with sensitive information on South Africa's citizenry and guests/ foreigners who are visiting the country and those who live here. The obvious expectation from these stakeholders is that Home Affairs will secure their details from being fraudulently sourced and utilised to their detriment.
It was shocking and disgusting to read that confidential information of Zuma and his child were leaked to the media by someone within the department. If the first citizen's right to privacy can be violated with impunity by a supposed trusted public official, then what more of an ordinary citizen?
How often does confidential and sensitive information leak from Home Affairs? And is this ethical? What is the government doing in the case of Zuma's sensitive and confidential information leaked to the public?
South Africans need to wake up and hold the government accountable on unethical conduct of its officials. These unethical acts encroach on the rights and interests of citizens rather than enhancing them and, as South Africans, we should not rely solely on the government to uphold accountability on the part of public officials but we need to stand up and insist on ethical behaviour by our elected as well as appointed officials.
Prof Titos Khalo,
Tshwane University of Technology,