SPEECHES: Address by the the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas, at the Public Service Month Launch Programme, Mieta Seperepere Convention Centre

Date: 2 Sep 2016

Programme Director

Members of the Executive Council present

Director General and Deputy Director Generals from all spheres

Government officials

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am greatly pleased to join you this morning on an occasion that marks the beginning of Public Service Month. We gather here this morning under a collective calling, which is to serve with humility and integrity in the course of leading, delivering services, developing our communities and together moving South Africa forward.

When I think about our roles as public servants, I draw inspiration from Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali poet, who was the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, who states in his one his poems, "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."

Today as we launch Public Service Month, under the theme, "Together moving the Public Service forward: We belong, we care, and we serve", we are once again presented with an opportunity to renew our service commitment to the public for the furtherance of the common and greater good. In doing so we should conduct our affairs with integrity and ethical conduct of the highest order because serving should be joy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I know that you will agree with me when I confirm that Batho Pele is now an entrenched Batho Pele service delivery programme in Government. In the Northern Cape, we are continuously making inroads through different Batho Pele mechanisms to ensure continuous improvement on how we take service delivery to our people. In the same breath, we should not be complacent because the more we improve the more our people expect so ours should be to work towards continued improvement.

The public service month continues to be a strategic mechanism where public servants of all level take services to the people. It is a month where public servants go out of their way through various programmes to advance the agenda of government of bringing quality services to the people and thereby move closer to tackle "head-on" our triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

This month provides public servants with an opportunity to meet and engage with the citizens amongst others. It also provides public servants with a valuable opportunity to influence the media agenda by focusing on the "real achievements" the "real challenges" and the "real solutions" of government to service delivery challenges. As it is stated the month is about "spring cleaning."

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are men and women at work, so let us not lose sight of critical work and programmes of government during this public service month. Indeed we are taking services to the people; these are showcased by the Executive Council outreach and the following key campaigns and programmes:

  • The Tourism Month
  • Heritage month
  • Local Government induction programmes and
  • Sport and Wellness activities, to mention a few

It is important to acknowledge the major strides that have been made since the 1994 democratic dispensation with regards to the public service's performance towards achieving an effective, efficient and development oriented public service and an empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship. In the same breath, it is equally important to acknowledge the reality that we still have service delivery gaps in a number of areas.

The Public Service Month programme and platforms therefore, provide public servants with a responsibility to bridge the gap between policy and implementation as outlined in White Papers and the existing legislative framework. The public service month is a call for public servants to strengthen and demonstrate the delivery of services in an integrated, efficient, seamless, effective manner with major emphasis to service delivery points and frontline service delivery.

In the Province, we can attest to the fact that previous consultations with frontline officials allowed us a critical platform and space to engage and have discussions about the real service delivery issues that affect your work as public servants. At the same time, there were critical suggestions that came from you as Northern Cape Public Servants on how to deal with those challenges. I am hopeful DG that mechanisms were put in place and continue to be implemented in respond to the issues raised to ensure that our officials especially at the frontline are able to do their work effectively and efficiently.

I am also hopeful that this year's Public Service Month will provide a platform for reflection and further engagements in this regard. The 2015 public service month programme should be utilised to provide feedback and consider progress made on the interventions for frontline service delivery emanating from the public servants themselves on the concept of "reinventing how public servants do their work".

In taking services to the people by truly putting People First, I am expecting you as the Northern Cape public servants to go an extra mile and roll up your sleeves to provide accessible quality services to our people especially at service delivery points.

In doing so you should utilise our various service delivery mechanisms like unannounced visits, Khaedu deployment of senior managers to visit frontline service delivery points with a view to: trouble-shoot, implement, follow-up, monitor and report back on service delivery matters to different stakeholders especially our citizens.

The public service month should provide you with various platforms both in the province and nationally to engage and intensify the debates on "how to accelerate responsive integrated frontline service delivery" to our citizens. No effort should be spared when engaging and acceding to the expectations of our citizens.

During the Public Service Month, it would be incumbent on all of you to have your Batho Pele Smile and rededicate yourselves to serve our people with passion. All these should be truly and genuinely demonstrated through our public service belief set of "we belong, we care and serve" our citizens in the true spirit of Batho Pele. Public Service Month also requires and provides space for you as public servants to evaluate impact of the services you delivered. Are they meeting the required standards in line with Batho Pele? Are they sustainable and developmental?

Our Commitment to action through the Public Service Month therefore, goes beyond the September month to a year-long programme of action on taking the public service to the people. As I have already mentioned the September month encompasses various government-wide programmes and campaigns mentioned above. These programmes are a reflection of Government and in particular the public service at work

Ladies and Gentlemen, twenty-two years into our democracy, bridging the gap between policies and implementation remains an urgent priority. This requires a certain calibre of men and women who are motivated, passionate, humble and ready to serve.

Let me conclude by making an appeal to all of us to continue to shine and go the extra mile in the Northern Cape and in the country, with our positive and Batho Pele attitudes during the public service month and beyond. Remember to always make follow-ups, provide feedback and reporting to our communities and frontline public servants about our work. Let us go all out to popularise and mainstream the Batho Pele Revitalisation Programme of taking services to the people, empowering citizens about their rights and responsibilities, deploying senior managers to deal with the real problems that affect real people on the ground.

Let us all intensify our efforts at beating the service delivery drum much louder, faster and smarter, by Putting our People First for real "Batho Pele and moving our beautiful country forward.

I thank you

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