Deputy Minister Chikunga addressing delegates at the Thusong Service Centre Indaba

Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, said the one-stop integrated community development centers are a strategic response to Batho Pele Principles.

Speaking at the annual Thusong Service Centre Indaba earlier today in Cape Town, the Deputy Minister said the entire thrust behind the development of the Thusong Service Centres is to give marginalized communities access to information and services – in a courteous, open and transparent manner.

Acting Chief Director Service Delivery Mr Metsantika Seopela, presented the new draft Thusong Service Center Framework

“These centers should be a platform for the government to listen to our communities and give them answers to their queries – especially about programs and services that are aimed at improving their lives.

“In our efforts against gender-based violence, for example, it should be the Thusong Service Centres that give vulnerable women and children access to information that they can use to protect themselves from gender-based violence.

“These centers should also give information on the services that are rendered by Thuthuzela Care Centres,” she said.

This year, marks 20 years since the existence of the Thusong Centre Programme.

According to the Deputy Minister, this makes it important that the nation takes time to reflect on the road traveled to chart the way forward.

She said five years ago, a decision was taken to have a week in a year that focuses on Thusong Service Centres, with the aim to highlight the centers’ success stories and deal with challenges.

Thusong Service Centre Week campaign run from 16 – 20 September, to raise awareness and display success stories about the various integrated services that Thusong Service Centres offer.

This year’s Thusong week, which is aligned to the Public Service Month Programme, is celebrated under the theme: “Reinventing the way Public Servants Work, Batho Pele”.

Ms Chikunga said this theme is a call to action for the government to do better with limited resources. It calls on us to focus strongly on service delivery and implementation.

The Deputy Minister said it has always been government’s intention for all of South Africa’s 278 municipalities to have at least one established Thusong Service Centre.

The motivation behind this is for municipalities to prioritize the establishment of these centers as part of their Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).

“It is our earnest hope that through our deliberations in this Indaba, we will find lasting solutions that will improve on the work of Thusong Service Centres,” she said.