Vote #IntegrityIdol South Africa: A citizen led campaign for accountability

Integrity Idol, the global campaign run by citizens to “name and fame” honest government officials, has found its first cohort of honest public servants in South Africa. The initiative aims to generate conversation on positive terms on the idea of integrity, in order to inspire a new generation of effective public servants.

The campaign, launched in January by the Accountability Lab and its partners- the Democracy Works Foundation, LifeCo UnLtd and Nelson Mandela Foundation - received hundreds of nominations from the public from across the country.

Activist Lovelyn Nwadeyi, who served on the judge’s panel discussed the campaign recently. “Currently, South Africa and many other African countries are overwhelmed with pessimism about our realities because the dominant narrative is one of corruption, selfishness and pervasive injustice committed by those we trusted as our leaders. An exercise like Integrity Idol gives us an opportunity to craft a parallel narrative, not a separate/counter one, that also acknowledges the efforts of those who are doing well and doing right by the people.”

Lovelyn joined Mary Metcalfe, Dr. Garth Japhet, Marlene le Roux, Charissa Hector, and Bishop William Mostert to serve on the panel. The high-level panel of respected South Africans convened in early March at Constitution Hill to decide on the top five public servants, from a shortlist of 20. The panelists are experts in the challenges and opportunities within the public service, in particular the healthcare, education, and safety and security sectors.

The process of selection is extremely rigorous, and its values are aligned to that of the South African Constitution. This campaign has been citizen led, allowing citizens to nominate a public servant and advocate for their work to shift collective culture.  Integrity Idol’s participation in #OpenGovWeek is an extension of encouraging citizen participation in shaping new realities within the public service and government.

Young South African filmmakers worked with Emmy Award-winning film director Andrew Benson to produce short films of the finalists. One filmmaker, Sandile Sithole, stressed the importance of the visual aspect.  “It is important that our generation continues to create films that have a direct and positive impact on the lives of local communities. These are films of local heroes doing right at all costs.”

Who will be South Africa’s first Integrity Idol? Voting is open and will close on May 18.

See the finalists’ stories below and vote at integrityidol.org.

Natascha Meisler

Vinny Pillay

Deon Easu and Jocelin Flank

Mirja Delport

Elizabeth Mkhondo

Follow Integrity Idol South Africa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Authors: Faith Pienaar