Prof. Van Niekerk delivers her inaugural address on Ethics, Oversight, and Accountability: Efficacy and Failure

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Prof. Van Niekerk delivers her inaugural address on Ethics, Oversight, and Accountability: Efficacy and Failure

Photo: Prof. Tryna Van Niekerk and family. From Left is Ms R Maas, Mr W Nel, Ms E Maree, Mr H Maree, Mrs S Maree, Prof. T Van Niekerk, Mr WP Nel, Mrs A Theron, and Ms J Maree.


Prof. Tryna Van Niekerk was officially inducted as a full professor on 02 June 2023 at her Professorial Inaugural Lecture. She provided valuable insight into her lecture on Ethics, Oversight, and Accountability: Efficacy and Failure.

In her presentation, she transferred her epistemology knowledge into the topic. She stated that the practices of ethics, accountability, and oversight structure are increasingly being challenged in the work of negative reporting about state capture, state corruption, and unethical conduct of functionaries of the constitution.

She stated that in the South African environment, ethics, oversight, and accountability occur within a specific statutory, regulatory, legislative, and policy framework. "South Africa has a plethora of statutory and regulatory frameworks, as well as Codes of Conduct, aimed at holding public and elected officials accountable. Unfortunately, these rules and Codes of Conduct are frequently disregarded, with little or no repercussions for wrongdoers."

She argued that the efficacy of ethics, oversight, and accountability practices is increasingly being questioned due to recent negative reporting about state capture. “The negative reports about state capture, corruption, and unethical behaviour of senior functionaries undermine public trust and confidence in the South African government.”

Her address argues that if top political leaders of government, including executives of state departments of public entities, do not account for transgressions committed, an environment susceptible to fraud, corruption, and state capture will thrive.

Photo:  Prof. Van Niekerk with her son, Mr J Edwards.


Her address argues that if top political officials in government, especially administrators of state departments and public corporations, fail to account for transgressions committed, an environment susceptible to fraud, corruption, and state capture would flourish. Legislative prescripts and code of conducts alone do not guarantee ethical conduct, oversight, and accountability, which must be enforced to ensure consequence management.

“Therefore, effective oversight and consequence management are needed to improve accountability for a sustainable impact on service delivery and the promotion of good governance in all three spheres of government. If top political leaders and top Executives such as Ministers and senior public officials and directors in State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) ignore constitutional and other legislative prescripts and Codes of Conduct, subordinates in all spheres of government tend to get involved in unethical practices such as corruption, fraud, and money laundering,” she concluded.

Uploaded: 02 June 2023
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