SPEECHES: Speech for the awards ceremony at the PSTF gala dinner by the Minister for Public Service and Administration, Hon Ms Faith Muthambi, Gallagher convention centre, Midrand, Gauteng Province

Date: 17 Oct 2017

The Northern Cape Public Service Commissioner, Ms. Moira Marais-Martin

The Chairperson of the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), Mr Frikkie De Bruin

The Deputy Chairperson of the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), Mr Phophi

Members of the European Union delegation present tonight

Principal of the NSG, Prof Richard M Levin

Heads of the Public Service and Administration Portfolio

Directors-General and Heads of State entities present

International Speakers from Uganda, France and Ireland

Representatives from all the sponsors who supported the conference,

Our motivational Speaker for tonight, Mr Musa Zulu

The nominees for the PSTF Excellence Awards

Invited guests

Ladies and gentlemen

It is an honour to give the keynote address at this year’s PSTF Awards function. I understand that these awards build on to the previous acclaimed systemic approaches of recognising and rewarding excellence in public service capacity building at individual and institutional levels. There is no doubt that such recognition of success holds the potential to contribute towards individual and institutional performances and the functioning of public service entities. It is through such excellent sustained efforts that we will ensure a public service that delivers fully.

As this is the fourth time that the National School of Government in partnership with the PSTF Advisory Committee are conferring the PSTF Achievers Awards, these awards are growing in stature and has become one of the highlights of this conference.

It is good that the system of awards are aligned to, and recognises performance aimed at achieving South Africa’s goals of building a capable developmental State. An important category in this context is the Coal-face Service Delivery Training Programme Award aimed at rewarding training interventions improving the way in which we deliver much needed services to our people. Another good example of a very relevant award is the category focussing on Excellence in Youth Development Training, covering all training interventions targeting our youth. I am glad to inform you that this category has received the highest number of nominations. Given the enormity of unemployment among youth, this interest in the youth development is certainly encouraging. It is hoped that it will stimulate and encourage innovation amongst our youth to address the triple challenges the post-apartheid era faces.

The Minister’s Award for Excellent Service to Public Service Training are divided into two institutional sub-categories, one for HRD Units the other for public service academies or training institutions. This is to also recognise institutional excellence and winning teams providing excellent training outside our academies and training institutions. Since the individual winner of the Minister’s Award is the candidate with the highest rating amongst all the other categories, it is a double recognition to the most deserving individual candidate.

As part of independent adjudication process, recognition is given to the development and rollout of programmes, the extent to which programmes made a significant contribution and the fact that it should support the values and principles inherent to the Constitution and policy prescripts. We have therefore created a unique system to honour those that put so much effort into public service capacity building.

Our Public Service will not succeed in achieving its goals if its ethos and values leave much to be desired. It is against this background that the criteria for all categories cover knowledge, skills as well as values and principles. Our winners are thus individuals and institutions that demonstrated the ethos expected of public service training. This is a step in the right direction as we cannot meet the citizens’ expectations if our attitudes and values are not based on the tried and tested humanistic principles that guided the struggle against colonialism and apartheid, and found expression in our post-apartheid policies.

Interestingly, this year’s PSTF awards function is held in Gauteng, a region with a rich history, a history that is amongst others associated with gold, mining, industry, immigrants, dispossession and our struggle for liberation. The discovery of gold in 1886, in an area later known as the Witwatersrand, was a turning in the history of South African. Becoming the largest gold-producer of the world transformed South Africa from an agricultural society to an industrial and mining society. A gold rush ensued with people from the rest of the world flocking here, hoping to find riches. Tented mining camps became towns and cities, while the explosions and crushing of rock deep underground continued day and night. Gold mining very quickly became the largest and most important part of the economy.

Gold glittered, but not for everybody. To be profitable, mines needed an ongoing supply of cheap labour, which stimulated the creation of a migrant labour system as many young African men had to earn money on the mines. The meteoric rise of industrial mining largely destroyed independent farming as a way of life. It changed former patterns of trade, produced a new economy and a new political system associated with racially exploitative economic growth and development through colonialism and apartheid.

Due to mining, industrial development, and people from all over the world settling here, this part of our country now prides itself with its wealth, knowledge systems, and great institutions of learning. As a result the province has produced countless leaders in economy, politics, academia, the public sector and various other spheres of human endeavour.

Gold glittered but not for all. So, the questions we should seek to respond to is: Did we ensured that the wealth and the knowledge of this province sufficiently improve our society in the widest sense and does it contribute towards greater inclusive growth and development? Also, does this knowledge inform our public service training curricula, materials and programmes?

Each of you should consider these questions for yourself. However, I urge all of you, nominees and winners, to focus on being thought leaders in public service training, education, learning and development. The Gauteng spirit of ingenuity is important not only for trade, economy and industry, but also to the public service. We need to promote this spirit in public service capacity building, and contribute towards an inclusive and capable developmental State as envisaged in our 2030 vision.

With these words I wish to thank individuals, institutions and organisations who played a crucial role in convening this 19th PSTF Awards function. I wish to thank and congratulate all those nominated for this process.

Though it might seem that gold only glitters for the winners tonight, be sure that all the nominees are golden, and are winners that have made an exceptional contribution to public service capacity building. The fact that you were considered for recognition and reward, is in itself recognition and reward. Keep up the good work. To those who emerge as winners, know that your journey to serve is only starting. Accept the award with humility and dedication, and continue with the excellent work. Let’s wish them the best of luck through a round of applause.

I thank you.

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