The nationwide Public Service Week (PSW) 2011 kicked off with a bang yesterday, with Minister for Public Service and Administration Richard Baloyi leading proceedings in Bloemfontein, Free State.
The PSW is an annual project led by Minister Baloyi in which public servants, ministries and departments from all government spheres participate in renewing pride, ethics and morale in the service they render to citizens, based on the Government's Batho Pele principles that put citizens first.
Leading a team of senior officials from both the DPSA and the Free State Premier's Office, Minister Baloyi's day started with an early random visit of the Kopanong police station in the township where he inspected the quality of service as well as the working conditions.
He followed this with another blitz inspection of the Bloemspruit police station before wrapping up with a meeting of about 300 public servants from various departments with whom he dined and discussed public service-related issues at the Kopano conference centre.
In between interactions with Kopanong police station's management, staff and members of the public, the Minister, together with the province's MEC for Police and Public Safety, Mr Butana Komphela, scrutinized facilities while asking staff about their challenges on the one hand, and the clients' satisfaction levels on the other.
At some point, the Minister found that dockets and other important records at the detectives' section were staying unlocked - risking burglary and getting stolen or destroyed.
He ordered that the lockers be fixed immediately, and Mr Komphela promised he would return within a week to check on the matter.
Discussing with public servants, the Minister stressed the importance of ethics and integrity among public servants at all times.
He pointed out that, while unethical and corrupt conduct among public servants was totally unacceptable, pockets of excellence were always recognized and used as an example to be shared throughout the public service.
He said the upcoming Senior Management Services (SMS) Conference scheduled for Thursday as part of the PSW would, among others, discuss at length whether the current policy regulating declaration and disclosures of interests was still enough to prevent corruption in the public service. The PSW will wrap up on Friday.Zingisile Mapazi