SPEECHES: Remarks By The Director-General of the Department Of Public Service and Administration, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi, at the commemoration of Africa Public Service Day 2020, Tshedimosetso House, City Of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng Province

Date: 23 Jun 2020

Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Mr Senzo Mchunu

Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga

Principal of the National School of Government, Mr Busani Ngcaweni

Directors-General present

Professor Edith Phaswana from University of South Africa

Senior Management Service members present

Our esteemed guests in the Auditorium those who are joining us on online platforms

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed a great pleasure to be here today as we commemorate the 2020 Africa Public Service Day under the theme, “The role of public administration in building and sustaining peaceful co-existence among communities.”

We commemorate the 2020 Africa Public Service Day as the continent and indeed the world, is battling with the scourge of the Corona virus. However, as governments and as Public Services on the continent, our work has not stopped as our people need government services despite the virus. We are guided by the Guidelines from the Departments of Health as well as the World Health Organisation as we continue carrying our mandates of our governments across the continent.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Africa Public Service Day is an entrenched strategic event on the African Union (AU) calendar that emanates from the declaration of the first Pan African Conference of Ministers of Public/Civil Service held in Tangier, Morocco in 1994.

The initiative is derived from the collaborative work of the Pan-African Ministers programme to enhance governance and public administration across the continent. The Ministers agreed that June 23 of every year should be celebrated as Africa Public Service Day throughout the continent, hence we are here today.

We commemorate the Africa Public Service Day in order to reflect on provision of an enabling environment and platform for Public Servants to reflect on their achievements, challenges and solutions made in their area of work.

More so in the year 2020, the Corona virus has challenged Public Servants to be innovative in carrying out their responsibilities during the nation-wide lockdown in almost all the countries on the continent. Allow me to appreciate a cadre of Public Servants who remain resolute and manage to do their work from home during this difficult time.

The commemoration of the Africa Public Service Day is an opportunity to motivate and encourage Public Servants to continue the good work done whilst coming up with new initiatives and innovations of delivering services to the citizens.

In South Africa, the Department of Public Service and Administration launched the National Batho Pele Excellence Awards whose purpose is to entrench the transformation and professionalisation of the Public Service. Rewarding excellent service delivery and recognising the contribution by Public Servants across Government and adds to the drive towards service delivery improvement.

Africa Public Service Day commemoration is also utilised to obtain feedback from the citizenry on public services rendered with a view to prepare and focus the public service’s interventions for a better future by proposing constructive and impactful changes for the well-being of the broader society.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As a Public Service and Administration in South Africa, we are guided by Section 197 of the Constitution, stipulates that, within the public administration, there is a Public Service for the Republic, which must function and be structured, in terms of national legislation, and which must loyally execute terms of national legislation, and which must loyally execute the lawful policies of the government of the day.

The Public Servants who work under the scourge of Corona virus, will be remembered as those who lived up to the values and principles of the Constitution. When the future generations and scholars of public administration reflect on the year 2020 and beyond, they will acknowledge the perseverance of these Public Servants who continued doing their work under unprecedented conditions.

In South Africa, the country’s blueprint document, the National Development Plan (NDP) highlights the need for well-run and effectively coordinated state institutions with skilled Public Servants who are committed to the public good and are capable of delivering consistently high-quality services, while prioritising the nation’s developmental objectives.

Public Servants are therefore, the change agents, enablers and facilitators of integrated good governance and public administration towards Vision 2030, as espoused in the National Development Plan.

The ability of the Public Service and Administration to be able to function under the conditions of Corona virus, is a demonstration of the good governance structures in place which ensured that the machinery of government remains functional.

Good governance is the cornerstone of effective service delivery and an absolutely essential for the Public Service to function optimally. Proper governance structures coupled with sound decision-making processes and practices are vital for ensuring a Public Service that is able to deliver on its mandate to serve the public.

Also, the strengthening of measures of good governance structures will contribute to enhanced accountability in the Public Service thereby improving the quality of services rendered to the public.

In conclusion:

Africa Public Service Day should be commemorated as conscious reminder of Public Service’s core mandate – which is to serve our people in line with the Batho Pele Principles – Putting People First.

Africa Public Service Day should be an annual reminder that a Public Service must serves its people in line with the principles as outlined in Chapter 10 of our Constitution which include serving professionally, efficiently, and ethically.

Africa Public Service Day should be our conscience at all the times, which demands us to be a Public Service that can boldly say to the people throughout the continent - We Belong (to you), We Care (about you), We Serve (you).

I wish you a fruitful and happy Africa Public Service Day celebration.

I thank you.

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