Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, said this year’s celebration of the Public Service Month reflects on the achievements that South Africa has made in the last 25 years of democracy.
Speaking at the Public Service Month engagement with public servants at Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal Province, the Deputy Minister said because a variety of other government themes are observed during the month of September, the government also brings together celebrations of Heritage, Environment, and Tourism.
The total consumption of tourism through domestic and international tourism for 2018 generated value that directly accounted for 2.9% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, and accounted for 4.5% of the total employment. Domestic tourism in 2018 contributed R26, 4 billion in revenue.
Through the Department of Arts and Culture, the government will also showcase the different aspects of culture in South African, which brings attraction to tourism sites.
“The interconnectedness of these different themes, our approach and the ultimate aim is one of an Integrated Public Service Month,” Deputy Minister said.
She said, however, this month is more important because the country celebrates the public servant and the value and service that public servants bring to citizens.
Under the theme: “Khawuleza, Taking Services to the People: We Belong, We Care, We Serve”, this year’s Public Service Month celebrates those public servants who live by the Batho Pele Principles. These are public servants who continue to serve their communities.
She said the Batho Pele principles aim to ensure that all public servants put people first, and adhere to the overarching framework of We Care, We Serve, We Belong.
“Our desire at the end is to inculcate a culture where our public servants are not only aware of these eight principles, but they also live them in their daily lives through practice,” she said.
Speaking on corruption, she said the government needs to rid itself of corruption as it undermines service delivery.
“Among the cardinal aims of Integrated Public Service Month is to instill and rebuild good ethics and professionalism in the public service. Good ethics and professionalism are the foundation of the Batho Pele Principles. Without these, the Principles then become a fallacy,” she said.
She said the Public Service Charter developed and adopted in 2013 as an agreement between the State and representatives of labor unions representing public servants enables citizens to understand what they can expect from the State and what will form the basis for engagement between government and citizens or organs of civil society.
The DPSA is entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the implementation of the Public Service Charter across the public service.
Since the public Service Charter is about service delivery transformation, it was deemed necessary to integrate the implementation of the charter into the Batho Pele Programme. Existing structures within the Public Service have been identified as mechanisms to be used to popularize the Public Service Charter
Among the priorities announced by the President, the most relevant for the DPSA are education, skills, health, consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services, a capable, ethical and developmental state, and promoting a better Africa and a better world.
The DPSA has identified five key priorities to focus on in the next five years. These priorities are resistant fault lines, full implementation of Public Administration Management Act (PAMA), achieving higher levels of stability in the Public Service, fighting corruption and policy implementation.
The Deputy Minister said the DPSA continue to engage and develop mechanisms of up-skilling public servants on these aspects, strengthening existing programs and improving efficiencies across the public service and that the National School of Government will play a key role in this regard.
She also paid tribute to the victims of gender-based violence, in particular, Uyinene Mrwetyana, Leighandre Jegels, Janika Mallo, Ayakha Jiyane and her three little siblings.
“We also grieve for many others who have died at the hands of some men as there are many more unreported cases of women in Port-Shepstone, Madakana, Mahlabathini, Margate and surrounding areas,” she said.
Deputy Minister Chikunga commended the Thuthuzela Centres at Port Shepstone Regional Hospital for being the first of its kind in the province of KwaZulu-Natal for rape victims.
“When the center was launched in 2010 through funding by the National Prosecuting Authority and the Government of Denmark, it gave hope and became a one-stop facility for victims of rape and other forms of gender-based violence,” she said.
On a better South Africa and a better world, she said the South African Government values its relations with other African countries, “and we need to work together to strengthen political, social and trade ties if we are to develop our economy and those of our neighbors”.
The event was attended by Executive Mayor of Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality, Councillor Nomusa Gwebu, Speaker of Ugu District Municipality, Councillor Gumede, Head of Department of the KwaZulu Natal Department of Health, Dr Musa Gumede, Head of Department of the KwaZulu Natal Department of Sport and Recreation, Ms Thobile Sifuna, Chief Executive of Port-Shepstone Hospital, Ms Bawinile Ndlovu and members of her staff and the Director-General of the Department of Public Service and Administration, Prof. Richard Levin