Lead SALead SA

Umhlali Policeman Wins South Africa’s first Integrity Idol

Written by: Moleshiwe Magana

After a 6 month campaign to find South Africa’s most honest public servant, Captain Vinny Pillay from Umhlali police station in Kwa-Zulu Natal was announced as South Africa’s first Integrity Idol last weekend. The event, held at the Artscape theatre in Cape Town, brought together international business, civil society and the diplomatic corps to “name and fame” five finalists, all of whom have dedicated incredible integrity in their work.

In January 2018 the Accountability Lab and partners, including the Nelson Mandela Foundation, LifeCo UnLtd and Democracy Works Foundation asked South Africans to nominate public servants that are working with integrity and “doing the right thing even when no-one is watching”. The group received hundreds of nominations from across the country and a distinguished panel of South Africans helped narrow down the field to the top 5.

The other finalists were Nurse Elizabeth Mkhondo, a nurse from Stanza Bopape Community Clinic in Mamelodi East; Firemen and EMS responders Jocelin Flank and Deon Esau from Florida Fire Department in Johannesburg; General Doctor Mirja Delport from Outshoorn; and Teacher Natascha Meisler; from PT Combined school in Trompsburg, Free State.

The Accountability Lab made short films of the finalists and asked South Africans to vote for their favorite Integrity Idol via SMS, Whatsapp and online. Thousands of people cast votes, even starting social media campaigns to highlight the work of their favourites, encouraging others to celebrate integrity within government service.

“It’s important to examine our own integrity in an effort to restore morals and values that are core to a functioning society. I am hoping to make a bigger difference in my community and work with the other Integrity Idols in realizing more concrete change in South Africa.”

Captain Pillay, the Intergrity Idol winner

“These Integrity Idols show the incredible work that is possible within public service in South Africa- we are in desperate need of a positive conversation about the role of public servants as a means to restore trust. That is why “naming and faming” these heroes is so critical, in many ways Integrity Idol as a public exercise helps us to reimagine our country and its possibilities. Tonight, we saw the energy that this can create and the vision South Africans have for a better future”.

Faith Pienaar, who led the campaign on behalf of the Accountanility Lab

The Accountability Lab and partners will continue to share the stories of the Integrity Idols, while also working to connect them to share lessons, collaborate and bring their colleagues into the movement. The team is building out the campaign in preparation for Integrity Idol 2019- details for nominations and voting will be available on the website later in the year.

About Accountability Lab

The Accountability Lab is building a new generation of active citizens and responsible leaders around the world. We support change-makers to develop and implement positive ideas for integrity in their communities, unleashing positive social and economic change.

This project draws upon the successful implementation of Integrity Idol since 2015 in Nepal, Liberia, Mali and Pakistan - which garnered millions of viewers. The winning Idols have now gone on to lead important reform processes in their countries based on the trust and credibility generated through Integrity Idol; and the Accountability Lab is now working with them to expand their integrity networks to do everything from developing national policies to redesigning curricula for civil service training schools.

For more information, contact:

Faith Pienaar Non-Profit Management Fellow

P: +27 (0)83 467 8825
E: faith@accountabilitylab.org




Read next from articles

They Sold Us Dreams: Mzansi's Youth Tell their Stories

They Sold Us Dreams: Mzansi's Youth Tell their Stories

Everyone seems to know what the youth is doing wrong, or what they should be doing better. It's time they tell their own stories!
Read on...

Local community is collecting soup to keep street patrollers warm during winter

Local community is collecting soup to keep street patrollers warm during winter

The Lonehill Residents Association have started their drive once again to collect instant soups for the local street patrollers.
Read on...

Kindness amongst strangers: this is our South Africa!

Kindness amongst strangers: this is our South Africa!

Gratitude and kindness makes a better South Africa for all of us.
Read on...

LEAD SA HERO: Bala le Rona Literacy Club

LEAD SA HERO: Bala le Rona Literacy Club

The NGO works with children who have a desire to read, write and nurture their ability to express themselves creatively.
Read on...

Redhill School hosts Grade 7 Leadership Summit

Redhill School hosts Grade 7 Leadership Summit

Redhill School hosted the Grade 7 Leadership Summit – an annual event on the school’s academic calendar supported by LEAD SA.
Read on...

Kathrada Foundation launches 2018 youth essay competition against racism

Kathrada Foundation launches 2018 youth essay competition against racism

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s 2018 youth essay writing competition against racism is now open for applications.
Read on...