Bill of Values

PREFACE: This Bill of Values is the result of two years of research, prayer and discussions by participants from many cultures and walks of life, who all share a passion for moral regeneration and good governance in South Africa. The three main authors, Zandile Vilakazi-Mwenda, Arno van Niekerk and Alaythea Hamlyn, synthesised lengthy deliberations into a concise list of critical values that constitute a strong foundation for ethical governance and leadership. The result is the book, “In Search of Good Governance,” which goes beyond the values. It provides practical tools to enable effective application of these values.

Bill of Values

At the root of the challenges we face in South Africa is a moral crisis. Hence the need for a Bill of Values shared by the people to be applied in a non-partisan values-based people-driven governance system. To govern properly, we the people need to govern ourselves first. This Bill of Values sets the standard for that and inspires moral courage in South Africa. Participants from all over South Africa, in building consensus, have been seeking to identify those shared values on which such a new system could be based: values that reflect both the character and new destiny of our nation to anchor us and our government on a firm foundation. The following primary values (over centuries regarded as the four cardinal virtues) were identified, constituting the four corners of our ‘house of values’ and is foundational to the governmental system that we should build on:

  • Temperance (self-governance)
  • Diligence (persistence in competence)
  • Fortitude (courage)
  • Prudence (wisdom)

Connecting these four pillars are seven values that complete the foundation of this house of values on which to build a government and a nation. Forming the base, this values framework describes the nature, character and purpose of our governance system:

  • Justice
  • Unity
  • Equality
  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Security and stability
  • Excellence

Then on top of this, describing our moral responsibility towards each other, our fundamental absolute VALUES are:

  • Love
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Humility




1. Preamble
WHEREAS certain values, principles, ethics and moral standards that stood the test of time have shaped the behaviour of ancient individual citizens, families, communities, societies and nations for ages, we, the people are saying they are still relevant and applicable to date;
WHEREAS they are societal matters of a nation in all communities that should be lived daily by all citizens;
WHEREAS responsible citizenry that is committed to the attitude of ubuntu, as derived from the character of God, which underlies our ethical democracy as embedded in our constitution, and responsible stewardship of resources, valuing the importance of a common good, which transcends individual interests;
WHEREAS the constitution of the Republic of South Africa affirms that the human being is born free with equal rights, dignity, responsibilities and opportunities;
WHEREAS the majority of our people believe in God whose character is manifested in absolute values, likewise our character and human behaviour is recommended to imitate His character by daily application of such values and principles by responsible and loving citizens;
WHEREAS all citizens are expected to be responsible citizens at all times, yet the history of humanity has proved that human beings are fallible and have limitations in meeting high moral standards, thus requiring positive measures of education, correction and support to be applied;
WHEREAS all citizens of our country enjoy inalienable human rights, which should be aligned to values, principles and ethics as set out in the Bill of Values in order to contribute to the realisation of responsible citizenry;
WHEREAS also the three arms of government should adopt and daily exercise the Values, Principles and Ethics contained in this Bill of Values; and

THEREFORE, parliament as a legitimate representative of all the people of South Africa adopts this Bill of Values as part of

Chapter 1 of our Constitution.


2. Introduction
A value refers to a specific human behaviour or mode of conduct preferred by a family, community and society. Values represent standards and frameworks for the way we do things. Organisations’ values are a guiding beacon, directing the process of organisational development and growth. Others consider them as a component of their philosophy. They relate to how organisations deal with beliefs about people and what they do. They describe non-negotiable behaviour.
Successful organisations and societies place a high premium on their values. For any organisation or society which espouses particular values, it underpins their mission and vision. Every society has its own values and ways of doing things. It becomes critical for all human beings to abide by a set of good values, so as to be law-abiding citizens raising standards through constructive nation-building.

By the will of the people, this Bill hereby adopts the values described herein. Its aim is to provide a guideline for the good and ethical behaviour of all individuals and citizens. May it also inspire outstanding actions. There is general agreement that responsible citizens with good values and principles know how to treat other people at work, in society, and in institutions of education, tradition and faith.

Values help us to make sense of our daily lives and how we fit into the bigger picture. They also provide us with a framework of good morals and build good trusting relationships for responsible and law-abiding citizens regardless of colour, creed, race, religious background, gender or ethnicity. A set of values is the basis of a code of ethics which is fundamental to the moral development of any progressive society, which recognises and respects law and order to achieve peaceful, loving and harmonious co-existence within society.

This Bill of Values is one of South Africa’s foundational documents that aim to assist and guide our citizens in terms of morally acceptable behaviour and peaceful conduct. Both adults and youth are called to embrace this Bill, and commit to take their rightful place as active, responsible citizens and residents of South Africa. By observing and assuming these responsibilities, every person will be contributing to building the kind of society which will make us all proud to be South Africans. The values listed below are divided into three streams: Values promoting responsibilities for South African citizens; Moral Values and Principles; and Batho Pele (people first) Principles for public engagement. The values in each section are in no particular order, other than being alphabetic.

3. Values promoting responsibilities for South African citizens

The purpose of adopting positive, moral societal values is to build a culture of productive and responsible citizenship in our country. Having a specified set of values helps to guide and alert people to their rights, privileges, and responsibilities. It is crucial for all people to be aware of what is expected of them so that they are/become dignified law-abiding citizens of our country.1

3.1. Care

This value expects all people in South Africa to:
a) honour and respect all in authority, and to adhere to them in a dignified manner;
b) be kind and loyal to other community members and family;
c) recognise that love means personal dignity and long term commitment, in taking responsibility to establish a strong and loving nation; and
d) take care of what we and others have as a reflection of our respect.

3.2. Citizenship

It is the social duty of all citizens to become law-abiding, responsible, productive, and dynamic individuals, serving the nation of South Africa with loyalty and dignity. The value of patriotism to our nation obliges each of us to be morally upright and loyal citizens and residents. This means that we are responsible for:
a) obeying the laws of our country;
b) ensuring that others do so as well; and
c) contributing in every possible way to making South Africa a country that excels in all areas.

3.3. Dignity

The value of human dignity places on our citizens the responsibility to:
a) cultivate a positive self-worth without becoming proud and boastful;
b) treat all people with reverence, respect and dignity;
1 Some of these values are derived and adapted from the Department of Education’s Bill of Responsibilities for the Youth of South Africa.
c) be kind, compassionate and sensitive to every human being, including greeting them warmly and speaking to each other courteously; and
d) ensuring dignified living conditions: cleanliness, care-taking and neatness.

3.4. Education

The value of education places responsibility on the youth particularly to:
a) attend school regularly, to learn and work hard to attain the highest personal achievement possible;
b) cooperate respectfully with teachers and fellow learners;
c) abstain from any sexual intercourse and from ‘sexualising’ others with pornography, thus preventing teen pregnancies, abortions and infections; and
d) adhere to the values, rules and code of conduct of their schools or institutions of learning.

Education involves more than just acquiring knowledge or learning facts. Just as important is education in good morals, values and principles, which must be instilled within people. Real education is a responsibility by which any government is passing the norms and values of society to future generations. Without this culture of education, tyranny would reign, as an ignorant people can quickly become an enslaved people.

Education is a process of sowing and reaping. The ideas imparted through schools will grow over the years and produce fruit in the personal, social, political and economic life of the nation. Hence, the quality of education is paramount and great responsibility for this must be taken by all parties involved.
A vibrant culture of learning must be developed in South Africa where everyone is encouraged to continually increase their level of education. The importance of access to education opportunities at all levels is key. Skills improvement is integral to how we all build a new nation.

3.5. Equality

The value of equality places the responsibility on all citizens to:
a) treat every person equally and fairly;
b) not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnicity, social origin, disability, culture, language, status or appearance; and
c) provide equal opportunities to all to become productive and responsible, and to develop as leaders.

3.6. Ethical Freedom of Conscience

The value of freedom of conscience requires:
a) allowing others to freely choose and practice the ethical religion of their choice, and to hold their own beliefs and opinions, without fear or prejudice; and
b) respecting the beliefs and opinions of others, and their right to express these, even when one may strongly disagree with these beliefs and opinions. That is what it means to be a free and ethical democracy.

3.7. Ethical Freedom of Expression

a) The value of freedom of expression is not unlimited, and does not allow us to express views which advocate hatred, or are based on prejudices with regard to race, ethnicity, gender or religion;
b) we must therefore take responsibility to ensure this right is not abused by ourselves or others, to not tell or spread lies, and to ensure others are not insulted. All people deserve a healthy basic level of respect; and
c) free press and media is valued, combined by a strong awareness of social responsibility by the press and all media.

3.8. Non-partisanship

Any person should always have the freedom to remain independent and/or not be associated/attached to a specific party/affiliation. This fundamental right should not just be protected but be encouraged in many instances, so as to avoid unnecessary division amongst our people. Being unbiased, especially in terms of politics, can be good (objectivity). Of course, it will always be valued as a choice. Non-partisanship also does not necessarily mean ‘no affiliation’ but may mean a person is connected/affiliated to an independent initiative, of which he/she might be a member.

3.9. Peace and Security

Such values are upheld by taking responsibility for:
a) not hurting, bullying or intimidating others, or allowing some to do so, and resolving conflict in a peaceful manner;
b) providing a peaceful and secure environment for all citizens to enjoy life; and
c) building a culture of peace-making and where we all take responsibility for ensuring the safety and protection of others.

3.10. Respect for and Protection of Property

The value of respect and protection of property leads South Africans to:
a) respect the property of others (don’t damage it or trespass on it);
b) let the government respect and protect the owning of private property;
c) take pride in and protect both private and public property, and not to take what belongs to others or gain access without permission; and
d) give generously to charity and good causes, to build the nation.

3.11. Respect for Human Rights

Fundamental to society is the protection and promotion of human worth. Human rights should be aimed at protecting human worth. The rights of all individuals must be respected. Also, it is an abuse of human rights when it is misused to serve the agenda of any specific group of people. Human rights should amplify the human worth of all in society on an equal footing. It must always be used/applied responsibly. For instance, people have a right to protest, but they don’t have a right to vandalise while protesting. Human rights also protect against the abuse of power. It ensures, for instance, that government do not discriminate based on sex, race, class or other reasons.

3.12. Sanctity of Life

The value of sanctity of life places the responsibility on us all to:
a) protect human life from conception stage and to defend the lives of others;
b) not endanger the lives of others by openly carrying or using dangerous weapons or by acting recklessly or disobeying the rules and laws; and
c) live a sexually moral, pure and healthy lifestyle, preserving health by not smoking tobacco or any other harmful substance, not abusing alcohol, taking drugs, or indulging in irresponsible behaviour that may result in a premature or unplanned pregnancy, being infected with communicable diseases such as HIV and AIDS, or infecting others with any diseases.

3.13. Stewardship

Synonyms for good stewardship include: care, custody, guardianship, watchfulness and vigilance. This value places the responsibility and obligation on us to:
a) cultivate an attitude of being good stewards for the benefit of all;
b) understand that the value and principle of good stewardship is imperative for success in all walks of life;
c) team up with those who cultivate a shared vision to develop South
Africa into a model country and nation;
d) live the vision and walk the talk to make South Africa an excellent nation in all good and moral aspects, and in all walks of life;
e) take good and proper care of what we own or of what is owned by someone else;
f) be responsible and caring towards all people, property, items or any asset of any nature that is placed in their care or exists in their environment; and
g) understand that there is no entitlement to damage, violate, encroach upon, or occupy any public or private property of any nature.

3.14. Sustainable Environment

The value of ensuring a safe environment places the responsibility on us all to:
a) promote sustainable development, and the conservation and preservation of the natural environment;
b) protect animal- and plant-life, as well as the responsibility to prevent littering and pollution, and to ensure that our homes, schools, and other institutions of learning, streets and other public places, are kept neat and tidy; and
c) take responsibility to ensure that scarce resources like water and electricity are preserved, and provision is made for unforeseeable climate or weather changes.

3.15. Work Ethics

This value ensures a high standard of work ethics and carries with it the responsibility for all workers and learners to:
a) work hard and do their best in everything they do;
b) recognise that living a good and successful life involves hard work and that anything worthwhile only comes with effort;
c) nurture children in work ethics without translation to child labour; and
d) build a prosperous economy with the high productivity of its workers, generating growth and better wellbeing for all.

4. Moral Values and Principles

Values and principles are lasting ideals that define and protect a shared identity and reflects the philosophical, belief, attitudes and behavioural norms and standards of a given people. Values in the constitution should be aligned with the values and principles evident in the makeup of our society. This would ensure that it provides a values-based constitutional order. It confirms an unwavering commitment to the ideals that uphold, protect and sustain the dignity, socio-spiritual cohesiveness and prosperity of the people. This is to ensure a high quality of leadership, governance and life. The following are seen as guiding values in this regard:

4.1 Abundance

Every person deserves to have life in abundance. This should lead to joy and contentment, which is more than material abundance. True abundance is not restricted to the privileged. We should have a society where modesty is celebrated, together with the humbleness and joy that flows from the generous hearts of responsible citizens.

4.2 Acceptance

Any person should not have to qualify in order to be accepted in society. Basic respect must be shown to all. Acceptance is fundamental to the core conviction or belief within a society. People should be accepted as they are but may be positively influenced for the better.

4.3 Accessibility

All citizens should have equal access to services, products, devices, or appropriate environments. Such access should be beneficial to all. People with disabilities or special needs have, in particular, a right of access, enabling themto access the use of supportive technology, etc. (as described in the Rights to Persons with Disabilities).

4.4 Accountability

No-one is above the law and/or has no accountability. Responsible behaviour is based on being at least accountable to society. This means an obligation of an individual or organisation to account for activities in both private and public sectors and society at large. It also refers to being liable or answerable for one’s actions or behaviour, and the expectation of giving account, where necessary. As an aspect of governance, it is central to discussions related to problems in the public sector, and in the non-profit and private corporate worlds. In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgement and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, and policies including the administration, governance and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position which encompasses the obligation to report, explain, and be answerable for resultant consequences of any responsible citizen’s actions.

4.5 Accomplishment

To advance a nation, its people need to be proud of their accomplishments. It is acts or instances of carrying into effect, fulfilment and or the accomplishment of our desires. It refers to something done admirably or credibly or anything that has been taken as achievement. For instance, a successful career can be measured in a series of small accomplishments. Responsible citizens should aspire to achievements and endeavour to have accomplishments in their life time which would contribute to nation-building and a sense of fulfilment.

4.6 Adaptability

When adaptability is valued by a people, it cultivates patience, endurance, and creativity. This is a great quality to have if you are a citizen of a country and a member or an employee of an institution that is undergoing
transformation. It also means that you would be able to readily adjust yourself in different contexts which require you to change for the best.

4.7 Belief and the Rule of Law

Our society is characterised by a belief in a Supreme Creator and Ruler of the universe, known as God. Although all do not believe in Him, the majority of South Africans acknowledge and revere Him. He is recognised as the Law-giver, whether that be natural laws (e.g. gravity), moral laws (right and wrong) or civil laws (treating others). Ultimately, the executive office bearers, public representatives, judges, and all citizens are accountable to God.
Equally, God is the source of our fundamental human rights, values and principles. As the Creator, He is the Giver/Source of our responsibilities. All citizens are equal before the constitution and the law. All institutions of government (legislature, executive and judiciary) and private sector are open to constitutional accountability and responsiveness. Therefore, nobody is above God and His values, constitutional principles and law.

4.8 Belief and Conscience

Everyone is born with a conscience, innately knowing between right and wrong. South Africa’s diversity has the capacity to inspire and enrich a culture and value system that can also sustain values informed by belief.
a) Therefore we must promote freedom of conscience, ethical religious tolerance and the acceptance of different ideological viewpoints (whether they are supported or not) without prejudice or favour.
b) Promote independent critical thinking and a culture of participatory debate.
c) Promote respect for the beliefs and values systems of others, allowing room for differences without being overly sensitive.
d) Promote the right of every citizen to give expression within the confines of the law to his/her views without fear of censure, intimidation, or harassment.
e) Oppose all forms of prejudice, whether individual or corporate, or through membership or association with an organisation that undermines the integrity of others.
f) Promote equal opportunities for all persons, including disabled and those suffering from HIV/Aids and other forms of diseases.

4.9 Calmness

Remaining calm and orderly – even during times of pressure or instability – shows maturity in a society. It is a deliberate choice to not allow emotions to rule, remaining undisturbed despite provocation or a difficult situation. Not being agitated. Calmness represents peace and quietness, leading to clear thinking and making good, sensible decisions.

4.10 Care

We must promote a culture of care where we truly take care of each other – despite race or culture. We also need to recognise more the value of societal safety nets, and must work towards affordable health care for all, and must put a social security system in place for the elderly, and provide schools to all the young. In a democracy we take care of our own people. It is equally about safety, protection and love. To take care of somebody demonstrates concern about the welfare and wellbeing of yourself, family, friends, relatives and others.

4.11 Charity and Sharing

Through giving, you empower others and may expect to be blessed in return as well. Availing extra resources to the weakest and vulnerable members of society through sharing socio-economic interventions brings satisfaction as basic human needs are met. It should promote inter-dependence and productivity for all when managed well.

4.12 Character (Integrity and Competence)

True morality is shaped by a person’s internal ‘rudder’. Citizens with character and integrity, driven by purpose, values and passionate commitment, steer their lives to the actualisation of personal and collective competence and upliftment. Further, competence refers to private and public administrative efficiency, effectiveness of systems and service delivery to all citizens through work ethics and professional practices for optimal competitiveness and personal fulfilment.

4.13 Common Good

That which is of shared interest must be highly valued in society. Such common goods or public goods requires that individual citizens have the commitment and motivation to accept their obligation to promote the wellbeing of the community and to work together with other members for the greater benefit of all.

4.14 Compassion and Humility

Treating people with compassion, especially in a diverse culture, signifies our growth as a nation. Humbly serving others and recognising with empathy the God-given dignity and value in others is what will make South African a very special country.

4.15 Contentment

Being satisfied with what you have is an important virtue, especially for resisting greed. Contentment gives meaning to the word ‘enough’. If we don’t learn to be satisfied with what we have, we will always want more and more. Then enough is never enough. Being content brings fulfilment and happiness despite circumstances. Then, when more comes, you remain content and don’t chase after the wind. But that also does not mean that we shouldn’t be progressive in our thinking. Striving to achieve more and putting in all effort, must be balanced by the principle of contentment.

4.16 Co-operation

Nothing brings more unity and cohesion in a society than working or acting together. In its simplest form it involves working together in harmony towards shared goals. It can even involve something like an inner connection among citizens or the social co-operative patterns of a nation. Helping each other should always be highly valued – especially in the spirit of ubuntu.

4.17 Courage

Having the inner strength to do what is right in the face of adversity is to be praised. It involves boldness, determination, and decisiveness to confidently act and stand for values, principles and ethics in particular under difficult circumstances or temptations.

4.18 Creativity and Resourcefulness

Creative thinking is important to solution-mindedness. Generating new ideas and resources is a prized value, together with a willingness to change, finding solutions to problems/challenges facing individuals, families, communities, and nations, toward inclusive advancement and development in righteousness and excellence. This builds a shared economy.

4.19 Determination and Commitment

Not giving up and staying committed to see something through that is worthwhile, shows character. This means firmness of purpose and the quality of remaining dedicated to a positive achievement or a cause or activity.

4.20 Dignity and Equality

This means protecting the God-given dignity of individuals, minority groups and majority groups on the basis that all human beings are born equal. Therefore, we all deserve to be treated with appreciation, respect, reverence, and even-handedness in conditions free from bias, exploitation, oppression, or any form of discrimination, victimisation or prejudice.

4.21 Diligence and Punctuality

Doing something thoroughly and being on time lifts the standard in any context. It is steadfast application, assiduousness, and the industrious virtue of hard work. Diligent behaviour is indicative of a good work ethic, a belief that work is valuable in itself. Other factors that encourage diligence are discipline, concentration, conformity and spirituality. It further means to perform responsibilities and duties properly, professionally, competently, and timeously.

4.22 Discipline and Self Control

Good discipline and self-control distinguishes people. They are also values for doing what is right during systematic instruction intended to train a person. A discipline in a craft, trade or other activity, literally means to follow a particular code of conduct or order. Discipline in itself should be seen as positive. Self-discipline could even become motivation to a diligent
and self-respecting people, aiding them to choose against wrong/frivolous desires.

4.23 Environment

Valuing our natural resources is fundamental to collective wellbeing. The one heritage we can all pass to our children and future generations is a healthy environment. That means to:
a) respect and promote our bio-diversity;
b) ensure that our production activities cause minimal pollution with the emphasis on recycling;
c) keep our living habitat clean and environmentally friendly;
d) use our soil responsibly and prevent soil erosion; and
e) protect our water resources.

4.24 Equality

Every person is born equal. We should value equality of power, finding multiple ways (and wisdom) to decentralise power; learning how we all can become servant leaders, and empowering facilitators rather than ‘dictators’. We should respect corporate opinion that is in line with the truth. We should respect the equality of persons before the law; and encourage diversity of expression. There should be no destructive competition but recognition of one another’s God-given talents, ability and calling.
Differences should not be viewed as inequality of persons, and ranking should be for functional purposes, and not be a reflection of a person’s identity/value. Our productivity should flow out of joint-partnership, seeing the whole as greater than the sum of its parts. We should ensure equality of men and women and a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need, to lift them up. There should also be equal opportunities for individuals, regardless of their race, gender, religion or ethnic background.
Respecting everyone as equal brings healing to the nation and sustains a culture of inclusivity. This is vital for building productive working and living environments where each is honoured for his/her contribution.

4.25 Fairness and Recusal

When we value fairness, we value each other. Being even-handed in our affairs sets a standard by which:
a) fairness in decision-making and distribution of resources for the welfare of all citizens is prioritised by all;
b) fairness and impartiality in dispute resolutions are always applied;
c) we refrain from any action which may be construed/designed to be unfairly prejudicial against any citizen privately or publicly; and
d) the principle of recusal must be applied to avoid any real or reasonably perceived conflict of interests in order to maintain fairness.

4.26 Faith and Hope

We value faith because it anchors people and helps them to not lose hope. Nothing is worse than hopelessness. Faith helps people hold on to a higher standard. It builds a firm foundation. Faith in God brings order in society. Having faith in each other builds the trust levels for good social cohesion. Faith keeps people on the move to achieve their vision, mission and objectives in spite of the challenges they are facing. Inspiring national faith and hope through rebuilding society and developmental opportunities conducive for sustainability, prosperity and a better future for all is vital for a nation. Nobody must be allowed to destroy the faith and hope of citizens who want to achieve their aspirations and act in goodness to all.

4.27 Forgiveness

Our nation needs healing, and it starts with forgiveness. Repentance brings hearts together and opens the way for achieving greatness together. Forgiveness means the renunciation/cessation of resentment, indignation, or anger as a result of a real or perceived offence, disagreement or mistake. It means ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been positively explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. It also includes forgiving ourselves if we’ve made mistakes, and forgiving another person to restore a relationship. Justice is essential, but unless we forgive, we will never truly move forward as a nation.

4.28 Freedom

Individual freedom within the rule of law is the basis of justice, fairness, nation building and good governance. The following are prioritised:
a) freedom of expression, association, movement, residence, belief, opinion and ethical religion;
b) freedom that allows a sense of social responsibility by respecting the rule of law, honesty, hard work and standards of ethical decency;
c) resistance towards all forms of crime, corruption and violence;
d) financial freedom is a high priority for all as it is essential for improving our sustainable wellbeing; and
e) freedom that promotes national unity and the indivisibility of the Republic of South Africa.

4.29 Freedom and Democracy

A free and democratic society must take responsibility for its progress. It also means being conscious of, and adhering to, the needs of the people to be freed from any oppressive systems, liberated from oppressive mind-sets, and empowered through the values and principles shared by the majority for greater independence and ethical freedom and democracy.

4.30 Godliness and Ubuntu

Individual and collective spirituality, identity and solidarity are essential to building a nation. Holistic wholeness is a key building block. In this way respect of other persons, the environment and property are honoured and translated into day-to-day living for the common good of all citizens. Godliness encapsulates the desires of people of faith to obey God and follow His good will. Ubuntu promotes a culture of sharing, our sense of belonging and our collective and individual wellbeing and humanity.

4.31 Goodness

Being good at heart towards other people and all living things is what truly makes us humans. Goodness is what we need most in South Africa. Doing what is good involves aspects of moral excellence, compassion, kindness, generosity and embracing the best part of anything that is good.

4.32 Happiness

When joy is shared it lifts everyone up. It is something to be treasured and should never depend on circumstances. South Africans are naturally a joyful people; we must release the ‘song’ inside all the people of Africa. Happiness is shown through wellbeing and flourishing through living a life based on good values and aspirations.

4.33 Honour, Honesty, and Sincerity

We honour one another when we exercise mutual respect and trust. Living with honour reflects a moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness and straight forwardness along with the absence of lying, cheating or theft. Honesty is revered in many cultures and religions, and rightly so. Honesty means being truthful, loyal, fair and sincere in motives – in private and public life.

4.34 Integrity

When integrity is valued highly in a culture, it brings everything in line. It means consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, character, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as honesty, truthfulness and accuracy of one’s actions. It is regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy and sees internal consistency as a virtue. When parties hold apparently conflicting values, integrity requires them to account for the discrepancy, or alter their convictions. Integrity also requires courage, applying the moral strength through a strict and incorruptible ethical code to confront difficult issues and aspects of societal discord and disharmony, fearlessly and unreservedly. It means saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done.

4.35 Justice

When justice prevails, the nation is in order and the people flourish peacefully. The socio-economic rights that are part of our constitution must be just and be seen as more than inspirational rights. Just policies and programmes need to provide everyone with equal opportunities to achieve human dignity and progress in all spheres of life. Justice involves commitment where:
a) the nation commits to overcoming economic and material inequalities of the past and present, and to promote opportunities for everyone to share in the resources of the country;
b) we oppose greed, selfishness and undue self-enrichment at all times;
c) we overcome all forms of corruption, whether driven by personal gain, dishonesty, favouritism, nepotism or other motivations. We promote financial accountability;
d) we foster transparency in government and business through timely, accessible, and accurate information on all matters; and
e) we ensure competent and fair management and employment practices that result in broad-based racial and gender representation.

4.36 Kindness

Loving and caring for each other should be the essence of who we are as a nation. Acts of kindness are marked by good and charitable behaviour, pleasant dispositions, and heartfelt concern for others. It is known as a virtue and recognised as a value in many cultures. Research has shown that acts of kindness do not only benefit receivers of the kind act, but also the giver, as a result of the release of neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of contentment and relaxation when such acts are committed.

4.37 Leadership

Everything stands or falls by leadership. Quality leadership and raising leaders with character and competence is key to the success of a nation. We value it because it restores purpose. Leadership involves organising a group of people to achieve a common goal. A good leader sets a standard by example, and guides/directs others in living out ethical values and
principles. We are building a culture of servant leadership, which embraces humility, courage, vision and initiative-taking. Leadership is influence and the best way to influence others for the right cause is through being a servant leader (that raises other servant leaders). Leadership is essential to bringing creativity and enterprise to the fore in nation-building.

4.38 Loyalty

A people will never be able to achieve something great if their acts aren’t trustworthy. Loyalty confirms how much we value each other. Loyalty is faithfulness or devotion to a person, country, group, or cause. It is also defined as an allegiance to the sovereignty or established government of one’s country. A person who is loyal is seen as a person who is lawful. No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. That is why:
a) we will interact sincerely, openly and honestly;
b) we will promote and encourage good relations, mutual trust and social co-existence across the historic divisions that characterise the past;
c) we will effectively employ the judicial system to punish all forms of theft, extortion, bribery, dishonesty and exploitation. This will raise a standard that makes loyalty a key social value, which should uphold good governance in the family, community and society at large.

4.39 Morality

In a moral society a healthy balance is struck between freedom and responsibility. Everybody’s fundamental rights are threatened by a lack of morality. People of character will desire to observe the law and will not wilfully take the life, liberty or property of others. If fewer people violate the law, a large law enforcement system will not be needed. Morality not based on the immutable moral being of God leads to people living by what is right in their own eyes. In the absence of morality, civil government will have to increase its powers and multiply its laws in an attempt to solve the resultant problems. Morality shapes the character of the people.

4.40 Obedience

Human behaviour is a form of social influence in which a person yields to instructions or reasonable orders from a person in authority. Obedience is generally distinguished from compliance, which is behaviour intended to match that of the majority. Obedience is a virtue of carrying out legitimate orders or instructions for the good of humanity. Of course, obedience does not mean being a slave. It means you honour rules, values and principles.

4.41 Openness and Transparency

Trust is essential for social cohesion, and it starts with transparency. Openness in decision-making processes recognises and appreciates communal management by different stakeholders. Openness is associated with democracy and respect for all other beings. The principle of transparency should be applied at all levels: family, community, society, corporates, government and the public. Transparency should just never be exploited/abused at the expense of people and their trust.

4.42 Patience

It is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay; or provocation without acting negatively in annoyance or anger; it is exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer term difficulties. Being patient with each other builds a peaceful society, which learns to embrace differences and diversity. Patience helps to harness diversity’s benefits.

4.43 Patriotism

When citizens display devotion to their country, it shows devotion to the fundamental values and principles upon which it stands, and includes loyalty to the values and principles of an ethical democracy. Patriotism strengthens social cohesion and makes citizens proud of their country. Then nation-building is a natural outcome, which also benefits other nations.

4.44 Peace and Security

We value peace and security because they create the right environment for people to live productive lives. They bring about a state of harmony characterised by the lack of violent conflict, an absence of hostility, and freedom from fear of violence. Peace also suggests the existence of healthy relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, a sense of security, exercise of justice, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all.

4.45 Professionalism

Appreciating high quality, excellence and doing things well, takes a nation forward. Professionalism involves the skill, good judgement and polite behaviour that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well. People respect an individual for his/her good conduct and high level of professionalism portrayed. Emphasising professionalism brings constant improvement in everything we do.

4.46 Property and Conscience

Two kinds of property exist:
a) Internal property – thoughts, opinions, talents, conscience, ideas, mind and affections. People must become good stewards of their conscience (discerning between right and wrong) and all other internal property. How people take care of their internal property determines how they care for their external property.
b) External property – land, money, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom of association, freedom of worship, bodily health, possessions, etc. Government exists to protect property of all kinds, and particularly freedom of expression. We all must take responsibility and steward our property well, safeguard it, and employ it to build the nation to the benefit of all.

4.47 Purity

The term applies to the absence of vice in human character. Vice is a practice or a behaviour or habit generally considered immoral, depraved, or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a negative character trait, a defect, or a bad or unhealthy habit such as addictions. Purity is associated with cleanliness and a healthy lifestyle that should be valued and celebrated in our everyday life.

4.48 Radical Change and Transformation

As much as we want to see ‘things’ change, we ourselves must change first. True change occurs from the inside-out. As a people, our values must lead us first to make decisions ‘inside’ us, which must then lead to taking decisions to bring the right kind of change ‘outside’ us, in our communities, cities/towns/villages and eventually the nation as a whole. All radical change must be non-violent and have the spiritual and material propensity that constructively, continuously and incrementally affect all aspects of humanity. This also includes our system of governance and organs of state – all towards holistic cohesion, growth, and the optimisation of developmental outcomes.

4.49 Reconstruction/Rebuilding

As nation-builders we not only have a duty, but an opportunity, to bring more than correction of the past, and more than solving current problems. If we all work together we can take this beautiful country to heights where it has never been before – economically and in our society. We need each other more than ever before. It’s time to build together. We can restore and go beyond all expectations to fulfil the incredible potential of South Africa. It starts with restoring mutual respect. Our diversity should be embraced and harnessed rather than disrespected. Reconstruction also involves a process of conflict-resolution taken between two/more groups of different interest, belief or understanding. Rebuilding is both practical and emotional, working together for a purpose greater than ourselves.

4.50 Respect

There must be a restoration of our respect for each other as individuals. On the other hand, ‘respect for authority’ shouldn’t give those in power a cloak to hide behind when they choose not to respect others. The issue of honour must be re-emphasised in society. We must honour human life above property, animals or the state. Respect flows out of the recognition of others’ value.
It is therefore imperative that we:
a) respect the worth of all individuals, irrespective of social origin, race, gender, belief, age, status and class;
b) oppose physical and emotional harassment of women, often resulting in rape and other forms of abuse;
c) eradicate the abuse of children brought about by social ills such as malnutrition, child labour and child trafficking, drug trafficking, pornography and prostitution;
d) care for all who are weak and disadvantaged: the poor, the aged, the disabled, and all those who are unable to take care of themselves;
e) oppose any form of physical, emotional, and/or psychological abuse or ill-treatment of another human being;
f) overcome discrimination on the basis of status, custom, culture, race, gender, health status, or tradition; and
g) collaborate for the physical security and protection of all people.
Respect, care and concern are among the overarching values characterising the South African people. We recognise that there can be no peace or security without respect and care, which means that we must:
i. refrain from using derogatory language and abusive labels in our interactions with others;
ii. promote peace, friendship, gentleness, tolerance and national unity among cultural, religious and linguistic communities; and
iii. show respect to all individuals and social groups.

4.51 Responsible Citizenship and Accountability

Being a people who care for others and what we have, builds a culture of taking responsibility. The obligation to carry out duties according to related
decisions and account for them regarding human relations, systems, and national assets by accepting responsibility and the consequences thereof in a transparent and consistent manner, is what responsible citizenship essentially entails.

4.52 Righteousness and Justice

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of good governance. Any governor or administrator should apply policy or law in equity and unswerving adherence to the standard of fairness. This applies to all, in adherence and as God-fearing people. Righteousness is the principle of integrity whereas justice is the function of integrity. We are to apply and live by the highest standards of righteousness and justice as guidelines for nation-building.

4.53 Self-governance

Governance means direction, regulation, control, and restraint. People exercise governance both internally and externally. Effective governance begins with the individual learning to govern him/herself. That is, his/her conscience, will, desires, character, thoughts, ideas, motives, convictions, attitudes, etc. A person can only be truly self-governed if his/her reason, will and appetites are ruled by a Higher Authority.
The basis of self-governance is obedience to the Creator and His moral standards. How a person governs him/herself internally affects his/her external actions, speech, conduct, use of property, etc. Each external sphere of governance is a reflection of the internal sphere. That means the internal is the cause of the external. The more internal self-governance a person possesses the less external governance he/she needs. Conversely, the more laws and rules that are required to keep people acting right, the more it shows how little internal self-governance they have.
As the people of a nation become less self-governed, the civil government has to make more laws, increase its power and spend more money on law-enforcement. This is not ideal. The lack of self-governance often leads to greater centralisation in civil government, which is also not ideal. The
opposite happens when self-governance improves in a nation. Another principle that is true is that you must first govern yourself before you can govern others. Leaders in civil government, especially, have a high responsibility when they want to govern the nation, to first be able to effectively control their own lives and their families.

4.54 Selflessness

It is to exhibit or be motivated by no concern for one self, but rather for others. Unselfishness is the quality of not putting yourself first but being willing to give your time, money and effort to others. Then also, selflessness is acting with more concern for the success of joint activities (in community) than for your own benefits/success. This builds a progressive culture where collective interests come before individual interests, which eradicate selfishness and greed.

4.55 Sound Family and Community Values

Family and community are core socialising units that inspire and create the moral and ethical values in society. More specifically, this means:
a) positive values that promote family values, fidelity, responsibility, respect for parents and elders, nurturing of children, support for the elderly, and the development and maintenance of the household;
b) eradicating domestic violence and the neglect of family responsibilities, whether due to substance abuse, cultural belief/practice or gender discrimination;
c) cultivating a family and communal environment that promotes a culture of care, generosity and inclusivity;
d) using resources efficiently and equitably to the benefit of all family and community members;
e) benefiting others as well as ourselves through personal growth and acquisition of skills;
f) promoting and harnessing collective responsibility among families and communities in the spirit of ubuntu; and
g) promoting social safety nets for families.

4.56 Strive for Justice, Fairness and Peaceful Co-existence

Peaceful co-existence requires justice, fairness and mutual respect as a basis for national reconciliation. The healing of past prejudices and divisions is required to ensure the promotion of ethical democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights for all. Key focus points include:
a) countering aggressive and rude behaviour through respect and understanding;
b) opposing individuals and groups that seek to disturb the peace, stability and security of the nation through prejudiced, self-serving and/or undemocratic behaviour; and
c) providing social and other services in an impartial, fair, equitable and unbiased way to all people.

4.57 Truth

We want to see truth being fully valued everywhere in society. There should be greater emphasis on impartation of character than merely the transfer of knowledge. There should be less need for pretention and less tolerance for lies from the mouths of politicians and all other leaders (and all citizens). We must be a people who want to know the facts, live according to the facts, and who want to be honest with each other. Truth also means individual citizens and public officials have a responsibility to report any misconduct by a person or gross incompetence of any public official in violation of accepted values, principles and ethics.

4.58 Volunteerism

Especially during a time of crisis we must all be willing to help in any way possible. Citizens should willingly make themselves available to serve others and volunteer their services, within their limitations. Caring for our nation and all its people should be the heartbeat of volunteerism.

4.59 Wisdom

Wisdom is critical for making good decisions. It is applying knowledge and the ability to discern and make good judgements on what is true, right and long-lasting. We all need more wisdom, hence the counsel of many is something we must always treasure. The collective is always as important as the individual.

5. Batho Pele Principles For All Public Engagement

Eight Batho Pele (people first) principles were developed to serve as an acceptable policy and legislative framework regarding service delivery, in particular. It has been created as a code of practice to guide public servants in executing their duties across national, provincial and local government departments. This is to ensure productivity, and proper and effective service delivery in line with the spirit of service in humility. Public and civil servants must understand that their duty and employment is to serve the public. This social responsibility to our citizens should be rendered with respect, dignity and humility. These principles apply to all public representatives, business leaders in the private sector and public administration in all three spheres of government as well as Chapter 9 Institutions.
These principles are aligned with the constitutional principles and values of:
a) promoting and maintaining high standards, ethics and professionalism;
b) providing services impartially, fairly, equitably, and without bias;
c) utilising resources efficiently and effectively;
d) responding to people’s needs and encouraging citizens to participate in policy making processes; and
e) rendering an accountable, transparent, and development-oriented public administration.

5.1 Consultation

Consultation is a powerful tool that enriches and shapes government policies. An example is the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) developed for the local government sphere. There are many ways to consult users of services, including conducting customer surveys, referendums, interviews with individual users, consultation with groups and holding meetings with
customer representative bodies, NGO’s and CBO’s to ensure comprehensive representation. This builds an inclusive culture.

5.2 Ensuring Courtesy

This goes beyond a polite smile, please and thank you. It requires service providers to empathise with citizens and treat them with as much consideration, courtesy and respect as they would like for themselves. The public service is committed to continuous, honest and transparent communication with citizens. This involves communication of services, products, information, and problems that may hamper/delay the efficient delivery of services to promised standards. If applied properly, the principle will help remove the negative perception that citizens in general have about the attitudes of government, in particular the public servants.

5.3 Increasing Access

One of the major aims of Batho Pele is to provide a framework for decision-making regarding access to delivery of public services to all South Africans. Batho Pele also aims to rectify the inequalities in the distribution of existing services. Examples of initiatives by government to improve access to services include such platforms as the gateway, multi-purpose community centres and call centres. Access to information and services empowers citizens and creates value for money and quality services. It reduces unnecessary expenditure for citizens.

5.4 Value for money

People must be rewarded fairly for what they have paid. Both the public and private sectors must honour people’s financial commitments – whether by paying their taxes/rates or for a specific product/service. No advantage should be taken of a willing payer. The service or product must be up to standard and delivered timeously. Sometimes improvements are requested by the public, which often require no additional resources and may even reduce costs. A response would be fair. Also, failure to give a member of
the public a simple, satisfactory explanation to an enquiry is unacceptable. Honour from both sides is important for nation-building.

5.5 Openness and Transparency

A key aspect of openness and transparency is that the public should know more about the way national, provincial, and local government institutions operate, how well they utilise the resources they consume, and who makes the decisions. It is anticipated that the public will take advantage of this principle and make suggestions for the improvement of service delivery mechanisms, and to make government employees accountable and responsible by raising queries with them.

5.6 Providing Information

As per requirement, available information about services should be at the point of delivery, but for users who are far from the point of delivery, other arrangements should be made. Managers and employees should regularly seek to make information about the organisation and all other service delivery related matters available to members of the public, i.e. customers.

4.6 Redress and Quality control

This principle emphasises a need to identify quickly and accurately when services are falling below the promised standard and to have procedures in place to remedy the situation. This should be done at the individual transactional level with the public, as well as at the organisational level in relation to the entire service delivery programme. Public servants are encouraged to welcome complaints as an opportunity to improve service, and also to deal with complaints so that weaknesses in government and other institutions regarding service delivery can be remedied quickly for the good of the citizens.

4.7 Setting Service Standards

This principle reinforces the need for benchmarks to constantly measure the extent to which citizens are satisfied with the service or product they receive from the various civil service departments or corporate companies. It also plays a critical role in the development of service delivery improvement plans to ensure a better life for all South Africans. Citizens should be involved in the development of service standards. Required standards should be precise and measurable so that users can judge for themselves whether or not they are receiving what was promised. Some standards will cover processes, such as, for instance, the length of time taken to authorise a housing claim, to the issue of a passport or identity document, or even to respond to letters.
To achieve the goal of making South Africa globally competitive, standards should be benchmarked against those used internationally, taking into account South Africa‘s current level of development. Aspiring to even higher standards than international practice will eventually distinguish us.

An extract from the book  ‘In search of Good Governance’,
which can be downloaded free at this link –
Download the book here

Bill of values:   Moral Values | Values (

Leadership Code of conduct:  LEADERS CODE | Values (