SPEECHES: Remarks by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, MP, at the 5th National Batho Pele Excellence Awards

Date: 2 Mar 2018

Programme Director;

Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration

Premier of Gauteng Province;

Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council;

Directors-General and Heads of Department present;

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It gives me great pleasure to address you tonight, on this august occasion, to mark the 5th ceremony of the National Batho Pele Excellence Awards. This ceremony takes place at a critical time in our country’s history, when our government and nation as a whole, celebrates the centenary of one of the greatest icons of our struggle and a founding father of our democracy, former President Nelson Mandela.

The ANC and government have resolved to undertake yearlong celebrations in memory of his legacy and an impassioned attempt to rekindle his sense of humanity and great leadership. In the same vein, we also cherish and celebrate the legacy of Albertina Sisulu, one of the stalwarts of our movement who have made a great contribution to the freedom struggle of the African people. Both these leaders and many more before and after them have left us a rich legacy of commitment and visionary leadership in our struggle.

If we are to be true to their teachings and preservation of their enduring legacy of struggle, we have to learn to emulate their example in the manner in which we lead in our various areas of responsibility. The occasion tonight is fashioned towards the achievement of those noble ideals.

In one of his famous speeches, Nelson Mandela presented us and all humanity with an immense challenge to do self-introspection if we want to be effective leaders of society. He said:

“One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”

The challenge that faces all of us both present in this room and beyond is to change ourselves and be leaders that people can look up to. This means we have to do things differently, more professionally and diligently so that our peers should see and learn from us, traits of true leadership and commitment.

In this regard, public servants must define their own role and program in terms of what and how they are going to remember the legacy of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu during this centenary. It is the leadership that is gathered here that will inspire and lead such an important program. It is this leadership, as custodians of renewed sense of service delivery that will encourage the rest of the public service to emulate Mandela’s leadership qualities and the drive and passion to put people first.

I am particularly pleased that tonight we have come to recognize and celebrate those public servants who are selfless, dedicated, committed and who go the extra mile in providing services to our citizens. These Awards entrench the philosophy of professionalising the Public Service, improve service delivery as well as work towards attaining the ideal Public Service as envisaged in the National Development Plan.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

When President Cyril Ramaphosa, during the 2018 State of the Nation Address, echoed the words of the legendary jazz musician Bro Hugh Masekela, in his song, Thuma Mina (Send Me), he might as well could have been referring to the nominees as well as recipients of tonight’s Batho Pele Awards.

As a Public Service, we need Public Servants who will heed the call of President Ramaphosa to say, Send Me.

Send Me to serve our citizens professionally

Send Me to do government work diligently

Send Me to use state resources for service delivery

Send Me to practice Batho Pele on a daily basis

Send Me because I can proudly proclaim: I Belong, I Care, I Serve

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Great strides have been made to have a Public Service that is service delivery oriented, people-centred and driven by the Values and Principles of Batho Pele – Putting People First. The Constitution of our country is explicit about the basic values and principles governing public administration. Amongst others, the Constitution requires that a high standard of professional ethics be promoted and maintained. It implores all of us to be efficient, economic and effective in the use of public resources but most importantly, that public administration must be accountable.

It is therefore befitting that the conceptualization and implementation of the National Batho Pele Excellence Awards is aimed at strengthening mechanisms to professionalise the Public Service. These Awards provide us, as a Public Service, with an opportunity to learn and share best practice from fellow Public Servants who are performing better and in some cases more innovative.

This helps us so that we can avoid re-inventing the wheel while at the same time reward excellent performance and gauge the citizens’ satisfaction levels with regard to government performance.

In order to ensure transparency of the Awards, Public Servants and members of the public are allowed to nominate the following categories as they impact on them directly, namely:

  1. Best Frontline (Service Delivery) Employee of the Year;

    • Best SMS Service Employee of the Year;

    • Best General Worker of the Year;

    • Best Operational Employee of the Year; and

    • Best Batho Pele Team of the Year.

The gold (first prize) winners in the four categories, (1) – (4) above will be automatically entered into the category, “Outstanding Batho Pele Winner of the Year.”

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Batho Pele Awards represent a concerted effort by the Ministry for the Public Service and Administration (MPSA) to intensify the creation of a strong and capable state. They further instill a sense of achievement and belonging to public servants. Many of the previous winners expressed their gratitude at being recognised and rewarded when they least expected it.

Through this initiative, we therefore seek to entrench the transformation and professionalisation of the Public Service. We have a firm belief that rewarding excellent service delivery and recognising the contribution by public servants across Government will add to the drive towards service delivery improvement.

As you are aware, this type of recognition is not only a South African phenomenon or invention but a global initiative that recognizes and rewards excellent performance. The epitome of the National Batho Pele Excellence Awards was in the Gauteng Department of Education, which won an international award, the United Nations Public Service Award for 2014.

The United Nations Public Service Award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. The overall purpose of this Award programme is to reward the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions towards a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. We are extremely grateful to be part of this global recognition system.

In conclusion:

I would like to conclude by congratulating all finalists across the categories. You are all winners in your own right even if the Award is not accorded upon you tonight. In your own way, you have demonstrated that your part of the Public Service which, by virtue of executing your responsibilities diligently, reaffirm commitment to the Batho Pele Value Statement - We Belong, We Care, We Serve.

I thank you

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