SPEECHES: Opening remarks by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration Adv. Ngoako Ramatlhodi, MP, at the 4th National Batho Pele Excellence Awards, Birchwood Hotel, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council, Gauteng Province

Date: 11 Nov 2016

Master of Ceremonies

Ministers and Deputy Ministers present,

Director-General of the DPSA, Mr Mashwahle Diphofa and all your delegation of management

Directors -General

Premiers and MECs,

Heads of Provincial departments

Executive Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni

Leaders in the local sphere of government, mayors and executive mayors

Members of the diplomatic core

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the government, the Department of Public Service and Administration, I stand to welcome all of you in this auspicious occasion; The 4th National Batho Pele Excellence Awards. At this awards we recognise the cadres of the state that continue to be a citadel of the best public service practice in the work we do in the service of nation. I will therefore not stand for too long to read a political speech as I am aware that may dampen the celebratory mood that is abundantly visible in this hall. Celebrations are an integral part for us Africans since the beginning of time. We also know how to celebrate as and when that need arises, as we would see here today.

A special word of welcome goes to all of our nominees in the different categories that we will announce later. For you I would like to say, May they best Man or Woman win. Indeed may the best department win too.

The question I thought we need to answer this evening is; what is a Public Servant? In the search for the answer to this question that we all must ask; I looked this servant in Oxford Dictionary and it says a public servant is “”A person who performs duties for others, especially a person employed in a house 1.1. a person employed in the service of a government”. Admittedly this servant concept has its roots in the French history (Servir or Server in English)) as we may know, the French have long history in statecraft and government.

Ladies and gentlemen:

I am discussing the matter of servant specifically in lieu of the fact that we are here to celebrate the best individuals from the length and breadth of our country who consider their work in the government as the highest calling. It is to this effect that we in the department of Public Service and Administration and the government as whole, have called on all public servants regardless of their positions and the state in general; to serve our people without hesitation in response to the clarion call of an African, BATHO PELE.

In this regard, we gather to honour our heroes in the National Batho Pele Awards as one of the milestones as we continue our journey to free all of South Africa of poverty, deprivation underdevelopment and unemployment. The public servants that we honour here should be a beacon of hope to all of our hardworking public servants, that if you continue to work hard, your efforts will be rewarded. Some amongst us may not recognise the collective might of the hardworking people in government and the state as a whole. I however want to assure you that our nation and its people are aware that; when they see dams built, road constructed and finished, books delivered to schools on time, economy growing (although slow) and the delivery of basic services; it is all due to the great human endeavour by men and women like you gathered here.

Our government and of course this department that I lead, are committed to building a government and public service that is accountable, responsive and conduct business in a professional manner. Accordingly, our awards will recognise the best performing departments across all government well as best individuals in various areas of our work. Congratulations to all winners and runners-up in advance.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I hope I have also been nominated, I am also hoping to win something from these awards and therefore hope the adjudicating panel will make this happen. When the Minister for the Public Service and Administration wins, no one should be accused of State of Capture.

I would like to conclude my remark by urging all of us in the public service and therefore responsible for tax-payer’s resources, to use the resources sparingly, effectively, efficiently of and for the benefit of our nation. We must work together to rid our nation bad practices and glorification of criminal acts such as undue accumulation of resources, grass materialism and greed. Our work in government is far more serious as society looks up to us to be the paragon of servant leadership. In doing so, we must ensure that we act professionally, we are corruption free and we respect the law. When we all act together to fight these diseases I have referred to, we will truly be on track to create the public service that is truly responsive to the call that got us here today; BATHO PELE

Thank you!

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