Managing Directors and CEOs,
Valued Sponsors and Partners,
Chairperson and Members of the CPSI Adjudication Panel,
Portfolio Heads within my Ministry,
The CEO of CPSI, Ms Thuli Radebe,
Chairperson of the Board of SITA
All protocol observed
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I greet you warmly as I welcome you to this special event this evening, and thank you for honouring our invitation. In particular, I wish to acknowledge our current sponsors who have joined us here including Microsoft, Eskom, GEMS, Bytes Technologies, GIZ and Deloitte.
We have partnered with all these sponsors for some time now, and we greatly value their continued support. Their commitment to this partnership has enabled the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) to take a number of great strides towards realizing its vision of "a solution-focussed, effective and efficient public sector through innovation", in search of ideas that works.
Your support and generosity, Ladies and Gentlemen, is appreciated. To our partners in prospect, the potential sponsors, present here this evening, I extend a warm welcome. I am certain that tonight's occasion marks the genesis of bigger things to come, and reaffirms the ideal that, "Together, we can do more!"
The CPSI as it is better known, had its inception in 2001, and was born out of a need to build the capacity of the state to deliver public services more innovatively. It aims to make a meaningful contribution to growth and development in South Africa by identifying, nurturing and supporting innovation and creativity within the public sector, guided by the inherent approach that "if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got", and underpinned by the philosophy that seeks to inspire "ordinary people to do extraordinary things".
The key challenge for the CPSI during the period in prospect, is to create the material conditions and an enabling environment, in which innovation is prized, encouraged, recognized and rewarded within the public sector, through the unearthing, development and implementation of innovative ideas and solutions.
In 2008, subsequent to a thorough review aimed at repositioning itself so as to best execute its mandate, the CPSI as we know it today, was born, and has continued to grow from strength to strength. But this, Programme Director, would not have been possible without the support and commitment of our partners, the sponsors.
The South African government is keenly aware of the need to work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders and role players, who embrace change in line with the shared vision of a better, more prosperous country.
We believe that strong partnerships remains one of the most important keys in unlocking our country's immense potential, and enhancing innovative service delivery so that we can become a nation of world beaters.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To borrow from our national rugby team, (the 2007 Rugby World Cup Champions, as they prepare to go into battle in both the upcoming tri-nations, and the 2011 Rugby World Cups), as government and the private sector, we need to bind as a cohesive unit, scrum down, and successfully push back the many adversaries that plague our democracy, including the scourge of poverty and inequality, the ravages of unemployment and deprivation, and successfully bring our people in from the economic wilderness.
In so doing we will score right under the poles, because working in partnership, "Together we can do more!" At this stage, I invite you to join me wishing our boys every success in the forthcoming rugby tournaments, and may they do us proud.
The relationship between the private and public sectors was especially evident during the recent global economic crisis, during which we were able to re-affirm our symbiosis and interdependence. To achieve a win-win situation, that is a winning nation, a return on investment for you, and improved, more efficient, more effective services, to the citizenry, it is crucial for both the public and private sectors to understand each other's needs, to recognize each other's shortcomings, but play to each other's strengths.
The Honourable President Jacob Zuma, during his State of the Nation address earlier this year said, and I quote "... We have to work with business, labour and the community constituencies. Experience shows that we succeed when we work together. One key example, is the work done by the Presidential Framework Response to the International Economic Crisis team, comprising government, business, labour, and community sectors". Close quote.
I am certain we can all identify with what the President said, and I am also aware that within your respective companies, you are doing great corporate social investment around these key areas for the benefit of all South Africans.
I believe that the private sector can be more intimately involved in this exploration with Government in discovering innovative strategies to continuously improve service delivery.
And let me stress that we continue to search for ideas that works and we will succeed in this regard.
As we strive towards innovative partnerships, let me remind you that we are bound by the principles espoused by retired Judge, Mervyn King, in The Third King Report (King III) in which it advocates for:
I wish to reiterate that, the role of the CPSI is primarily to function as an enabler, facilitator and champion of innovative ideas. This will require creating an enabling environment for the generation and rewarding of new ideas; facilitating engagement between public, private and non-governmental entities, with a view to establishing sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships, and championing the value of, and the need for innovation within the public sector.
Whilst some solutions can be unearthed from within the public sector (both locally and globally), many other solutions reside within the ambit of the private sector. We have a mutual responsibility to connect the dots, and to look beyond short-term profit-making.
The CPSI has a number of programmes that need your support. The CPSI team led by Thuli Radebe, will during the course of the dinner and at a later stage, provide you with more details of the kind of support that is required. One that I can mention, is the Multi-Media Innovation Centre, a walk-through facility that, among other offerings, showcases innovation in the public and private sectors and facilitates planning and business process re-engineering, for service delivery institutions.
In this regard, we need the private sector to partner with us to develop this facility into a vibrant, value-adding, world-class platform. We were overwhelmed by the demand from all three spheres of government and already management teams are visiting the centre where they interrogate their unique challenges and engage with potential solutions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This engagement is more than just an opportunity for us to present you with a list of needs. If we are serious about building a winning nation through mutually beneficial partnerships, we need to seek your guidance and advice, and create platforms and opportunities for joint engagement with the challenges.
It was Charles Leadbeater, one of the world's leading authorities on innovation and creativity, who said, and I quote: "A public sector that does not create platforms for citizens to create solutions for themselves, together, will soon start to seem old, outdated and tired." Close quote.
We may want to expand on that by saying: "A public sector that does not create platforms where the public and private sectors, with citizens co-create innovative solutions for our most pressing national challenges, will soon lose touch with its people, and succumb under the burden of growing backlogs."
In conclusion, Programme Director,
It is my humble aspiration that this evening's intervention bears fruit by yielding additional partnership opportunities to support government, through the CPSI, in its endeavour to unearth and nurture innovation in the public sector to the benefit of the country.
May I also take this opportunity to invite our guests to the Public Sector Innovation Conference, scheduled for the 24-25 August 2011, in Durban. I look forward to receiving you there.
Now, allow me as I step aside, to invite you to come up to the podium, to say a few words in response to the gauntlet which I have thrown down, this evening.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION:
For more information please contact;
Dumisani Nkwamba 082 885 9448/ 012 336 1704 dumisaniN@dpsa.gov.za
Lebohang Mafokosi 082 312 4641/ 012 336 1017 Lebohangm@dpsa.gov.zaRichard Baloyi