The finalists in South Africa’s first Integrity Idols initiative have been announced.

They are a doctor, a police captain, a nurse, two EMS responders, and an educator, drawn from across the country.

South Africans were asked to nominate those civil servants working in the healthcare, education, and safety and security sectors, and whose work ethic was to do the right thing even when no one is watching. Teachers, doctors, nurses, community care workers, social workers, policemen and -women, and more were all eligible for the first edition of this programme, which aims to generate debate around the idea of integrity, build a network of honest government officials who can push for positive change and inspire a new generation to be more effective public servants.

The voting stage opens on 4 May.

The finalists

Mirja Delport (left in picture) is a doctor at the Oudtshoorn District Hospital, Western Cape. “I grew up with an experience of the challenges within public healthcare. For me, integrity is not letting one of my patients slip through the cracks in what is a difficult and overburdened environment.”

Deon Easu and Jocelin Flank (second from left) were nominated as a team. They are fire fighters and EMS responders from Johannesburg, Gauteng. Together with colleagues they initiated the South African Fire Youth Development Academy to train young people to become fully-fledged fighters.

Captain Vinny Pillay (centre) from Umhlali Police Station, KwaZulu-Natal, says his work as a police officer is a lifelong calling to continue safeguarding communities in South Africa.

Natascha Meisler (second from right) is an educator at PT Sanders Combined School in Trompsburg, Free State, and an advocate for students with learning disabilities. “I have been bullied for advocating for the needs of my students but continue to serve with Integrity. Our learners keep myself and my colleagues going.”

Elizabeth Mkhondo (right) is a nurse at Stanza Bopape Clinic, Mamelodi East in Tshwane, Gauteng, working in the centre’s TB Unit. “As a nurse, integrity for me has always been about making a real difference in my community in very difficult resource circumstances. It is about extending care to all my patients.”

We congratulate them all!

The Integrity Idols process

16 January – end February 2018 Using their phones South Africans nominate an Integrity Idol working for the government in health, education or safety and security.
March 2018 An expert panel of respected South Africans narrow the nominees to the top 10 candidates.
March – April 2018 Working with an Emmy award-winning film-maker, young South African film-makers develop short films of the finalists doing their jobs with integrity.
May 2018 Short films will be shown on TV and social media platforms, with audio on community radio stations. We will ask South Africa to vote for their Integrity Idol through SMS, social media, WhatsApp and online.
20 May 2018 The Integrity Idols are crowned in a public ceremony during a special event with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and LifeCo UnLtd and BMW Foundation Herbert Quant.

Supporting a culture of accountability in government

Corruption Watch is one of the organisations supporting the Integrity Idols South Africa initiative, which launched on 16 January in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The Accountability Lab and partners, including the Nelson Mandela Foundation, LifeCo UnLtd and Democracy Works Foundation, are driving the programme.

Like its predecessors, Integrity Idols South Africa aims to inspire a national movement to honour, encourage and connect honest civil servants, using positive reinforcement.

We want to move away from “naming and shaming” the corrupt and towards “naming and faming” those bureaucrats that are working with integrity and doing the right thing even when no-one is watching. In short, Integrity Idol wants to find South Africa’s most honest civil servant, one who is truly committed to excellence in their job.  Tweet This!

Young filmmakers were invited to participate by making short films highlighting the finalists and their achievements and aspirations.