SPEECHES: Opening remarks by Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Honourable Sindisiwe Chikunga, MP at the official launch of the Integrated Public Service Month

Date: 4 Sep 2020

Theme: Growing South Africa together for an ethical public service, “We Belong, We Care, and We Serve”

Programme Director & DG of the DPSA: Ms Yoliswa Makhasi

Minister for the Public Service and Administration- Honourable S Mchunu, MP;

Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Minister present;

Directors-General and HODs of all Departments in all three spheres of government;

Deputy Directors-General;

Senior Management;

Our Public Servants across all levels of government;

Our esteemed guests who are joining us on on-line platforms

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen,

INTRODUCTION <\p>

It is indeed a privilege to be part of this important event on the occasion of launching the Government Integrated Public Service Month, a programme which seeks to honour the remarkable men and women who serve our communities throughout national, provincial and local governments. <\p>

My responsibilities today is to welcome our approximately 1, 2 million Public Servant; in the employ of government who have for the past months extraordinarily performed their duties and kept the machinery of state working regardless of the difficult conditions posed by the spread of COVID 19 virus. I also want to take this opportunity to welcome all citizens of South Africa and the diaspora who are following the launch of the Public Service through the live broadcast and on-line platforms. <\p>

INTEGRATED PUBLIC SERVICE MONTH<\p>

Public Service Month is an integrated and strategic programme of government, it is about celebrating the value and virtue of service to the community. Today’s launch realises the directive given by the Joint Cabinet Committee on 13 August 2019 that all government programmes within the month of September must be integrated to maximise impact. The theme for the 2020 Public Service Month says “Growing South Africa together for an ethical Public Service, “We Belong, We Care, and We Serve”.<\p>

Ladies and gentlemen;<\p>

The Integrated Public Service Month Programme includes Heritage, Tourism, Police services, Sport, Arts and Culture as well as Public services. It is also about reminding us what it means to serve communities, to assess our service delivery impact, recommit ourselves to belong, to care and to serve the people; whilst contributing positively to building livelihoods.<\p>

TOURISM MONTH<\p>

To this end, Tourism, as part of integrated Public Service Month calendar will undoubtedly play a major part in the recovery of the economy. World Tourism Day also has an objective to promote the importance of tourism towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through its social, cultural, political and economic value. One of the important activities of Tourism month is World Tourism Day which creates awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism. <\p>

Locally, World Tourism Day celebration is held under the Domestic Tourism campaign. This year it will aim to foster awareness about domestic travel among communities with a special focus on travel to rural areas, villages and smalls towns.<\p>

HERITAGE MONTH THEME: ‘KNOW YOUR NATIONAL SYMBOL EXHIBITION’

<\p>

Programme Director; <\p>

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture will celebrate the month through the “Know Your National Symbols Exhibition” as part of the Heritage Month. The Heritage exhibition will profile National Symbols that define our national identity and promote nation building to inspire pride in being a South African during the Integrated Public Service Month. <\p>

SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE SAFETY MONTH<\p>

As government, we will also be focusing on Police Safety Month. Policing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Loss of life resulting from attacks on police officials, suicide and motor vehicle accidents remain a serious concern to government and the SAPS. Police safety will therefore be prioritized and we urge all members of the community to support the campaign, they are the custodians of safety in our community. <\p>

It is our responsibility as society to ensure we support efforts preserve their lives. <\p>

CORRUPTION FREE- PUBLIC SERVICE<\p>

Programme Director;<\p>

Corruption and self-enrichment are not part of our constitutional values and principles; nor is it part of the vision we framed for ourselves in the National Development Plan. It is an unlawful practice that undermines good governance and ethical standards which government has the role to uphold. Our Public Service is anchored in the Constitution which demands that the Public Service, amongst others, maintains and promotes a high standard of professional ethics, and that Public Servants put the public interest first in the execution of their official duties. <\p>

The public service Code of Conduct commands that we adopt a standard of professional ethics in the public service that is beyond reproach, which means that the public service must be corruption-free and uphold professional standards. We need to tap into our servant leadership abilities, reawaken our conscience to grow South Africa and make sure we lead the people with confidence. <\p>

The Minister of Public Service and Administration, Honourable Senzo Mchunu, MP will today outline in greater detail the kind of Public Service required to drive the mandate of this government in delivering effective and efficient services to our people. <\p>

PUBLIC SERVANTS IN THE ADVENT OF COVID 19 PANDEMIC<\p>

Programme Director; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: <\p>

It is not an exaggeration that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the entire world and government services to its core, resulting in uncertainty and socio- economic instability. <\p>

Whilst South Africa grapples with the COVID -19 pandemic effects on our society, it is not acceptable to see an increase in COVID-related corruption and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). <\p>

The surge in number of GBV during the COVID -19 pandemic is a serious concern and requires immediate attention and action from all of us. I therefore urge all public sector employees to reflect on their role in giving effect to the six pillars of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (2020-2030) as pronounced by His Excellency, The President.<\p>

APPRECIATION OF THE STERLING WORK PERFORMED BY PUBLIC SERVANTS<\p>

Distinguished guests;<\p>

Whilst this global health crisis has undeniably brought unprecedented challenges for the global community, governments, and our people; we are extremely humbled by the dedication and commitment of all Public Servants, especially those who are frontline workers for instance in sectors such as health and law enforcement. It took the pandemic for all South Africans to know how much we need and care for each other. <\p>

Government’s response to COVID 19 pandemic has been remarkable and focused on proactive approaches and the provision of innovative solutions to ensure that services are not interrupted, but most importantly to minimize the risk of losing lives. <\p>

Fellow South Africans;<\p>

We applaud the courageous work undertaken by Public Servants, who, for the past six months have diligently been rendering services under difficult conditions. <\p>

They are indeed exemplary Public Servants that we need in our effort to “Grow South Africa together for a capable and ethical Public service”. <\p>

As we applaud the work of our frontline workers who continue to provide services during this unprecedented times of COVID-19, it saddens me to announce that more than 1161 public servants have lost their lives and succumbed due to COVID-19. <\p>

We pay tribute to the lives of all these public servants who succumbed to this virus while selflessly serving our nation. Indeed our heads and hearts are bowed in pain. At this moment, we convey our heartfelt condolences to their families, their colleagues in the Public Service. We trust God’s hand and strength to carry through their loved ones at this time. <\p>

Ladies and Gentlemen before I sit down as we continue with the launch. <\p>

I request that we all stand and observe a moment of silence as a symbol of respect and in honour for our departed colleagues, our Public Service foot soldiers, who stood to their last and lost their lives in the struggle against COVID-19. <\p>

[MOMENT OF SILENCE WHILST STANDING]<\p>

Their commitment and courage to serve till the end will be remembered forever. <\p>

In their honour, let this Public Service Month be an opportunity for all of us in the Public Service to commit to serving the people with the outmost courtesy and diligence being conscious daily of the struggles our people face. As the Public Service, We are Ethical, We are Capable and Can do Better to Grow South Africa together as “We Belong, as We Care, and as We Serve”.<\p>

I, thank you.<\p>


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