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Public servants should serve citizens professionally

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Africans need and deserve to be served by competent public servants, says Public Service and Administration acting Director-General, Willie Vukela.

According to Vukela, Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu will share the country’s move to professionalise the public service space at the upcoming 8th Continental Africa Public Service Day (APSD) scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe.

“Earlier this year, we officially unveiled the consultation process with regard to the National Implementation Framework towards the professionalisation of the public service. Our view is that citizens in this African continent deserve a competent public service that will deliver services in a professional and ethical manner,” he said adding that the framework, aims to entrench a dynamic system of professionalism in the public service space.

He further said it also aims to ensure meritocracy in the recruitment and career management of public servants, which are in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), as well as initiating consequence management for irregularities through the transgression mechanisms available to professional bodies.

The APSD is celebrated on June 23 annually throughout the continent…it is the day on which men, and women whose responsibility it is to serve the people of Africa showcase their innovation with respect to service delivery.

The Pan African Conference of Ministers in 2001, declared June 23 as Africa Public Service Day.

This year, the APSD will be held in Zimbabwe from 21-23 under the theme: “Constructing the Africa we want through embracing an ethical culture that underpins purpose driven leadership.”

Africa Public Service Day is an annual event in which all African countries share best practices, challenges and progress in respect of transformation programmes. The continental APSD has been celebrated previously as follows in Namibia, (2007), Tanzania (2009&2011), Ghana (2013), Congo (2015), in Rwanda (2017) and Kenya (2019).

High on the APSD agenda is to mark and appreciate the work being done by the public service and to recognise their positive contribution to the socio-economic development of the continent.

The 2021 APSD celebrations takes its cue from the fact that, the African Union (AU) declared that this year’s programme would be a one-day main event on June 23, 2021.

The celebrations are generally aimed at rewarding excellence in the public sector; motivating public servants to promote innovation, enhancing professionalism in the Public Service, raising the image of public service, enhance trust in government, to share best practices for possible replication within a country as well as across the African continent.

In South Africa, APSD day will be implemented as a weeklong programme from 23-25 June 2021, where all spheres of government will hold multi-sector dialogue sessions on the theme and sub-themes of the APSD.

PROFESSIONALISM

According to the African Union (AU) African Charter on values and principles for public service and principles for public service and administration, which South Africa ratified in 2014, public Service agents shall demonstrate professionalism, transparency and impartiality in the performance of their duties.

It further said that public servants should demonstrate excellence and innovation in their performance of duties, that they shall also be required to perform their professional duties and show courtesy, integrity and neutrality in dealing with users.

Again, the charter said public servants should act responsibly and in accordance with the national laws and regulations.

ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR

With regard to the ethical behaviour, the charter said public servants should demonstrate integrity, respect all rules, values, and established codes of conduct in the performance of their duties.

Public servants shall not solicit, accept, or receive directly or indirectly any payment, gift, donation, or reward in kind or cash, for services rendered, and they should not use their positions for political or personal gains. In all circumstances, they shall act with impartiality and loyalty.