Integrity Idol, the civil society driven campaign to “name and fame” honest government officials in South Africa, has found its first cohort of honest public servants.

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

“The process of selection is extremely rigorous,” shared campaign co-ordinator Faith Pienaar.

“Once we have received a nomination, our team verifies the authenticity of the claims made by the nominee using the Accountability Lab’s seven step verification process.”

A high-level panel of respected South Africans convened in early March at Constitution Hill to decide on a top 5 from a shortlist of 20.

Pienaar added: “The panelists are experts in the challenges and opportunities within the public service, in particular the healthcare, education and safety and security sectors.”

Lovelyn Nwadeyi, who served on the 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.

A group of young, aspiring filmmakers has now travelled across South Africa with Emmy Award winning film director Andrew Benson to document the Integrity Idol finalists.

One of the young filmmakers, Sandile Sithole, shared: “It is important that our generation continue 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?! The inaugural Integrity Idols will be announced in the coming week.

Official voting to launch on May 4th.

The public will be able to vote using SMS, WhatsApp and online.

Follow Integrity Idol South Africa on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

This article was first published on 26 April 2018 in New24 online.