A reliable public service space is one that is active, skilled, ground-breaking and responsive to service delivery needs of citizens, says Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo as she officially unveiled Integrated Public Service Month on Friday.
“An honest public service is one that is competent, agile, innovative and responsive to the needs of all. In all our workspaces, we have to find innovative ways to manage the resources that the public have entrusted us to deliver services timeously. It is not only about the delivery of services but quality services. The only way to do so is to constantly strive to remove barriers, reduce transaction costs, and ensure equitable and equal access for all. The public service is not ours, but belongs to the public.
“We also acknowledge that you, our public servants, are our first line of defence. You are entrusted with managing State resources for the public benefit. Every year during Public Service Month, we recommit ourselves to improving all areas of public service delivery, and we encourage you to stay strong and always do your best,” she said.
Minister Dlodlo virtually delivered the keynote address under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke – a resilient public service responsive to the coronavirus pandemic.”
She said the mismanagement of resources directly harms the most vulnerable members of the society who rely on government resources to sustain their livelihoods.
“It interrupts investment, reduces economic growth and distorts the data related to government expenditure. Let us always uphold the supremacy of our Constitution and the rule of law. Let us meet the expectations our people have on us by serving them with pride, dedication to the best of our abilities. Let us fight corruption and build a capable, ethical and developmental State that puts people and their needs at the centre of our work,” she said.
Building a capable state
The Minister urged public servants, to step up and identify ways in which they can realise the citizen-centric public service space that is the hallmark of a capable state.
“As government, we recognise that a capable State starts with the people who work in it.
“Therefore, officials at all levels must possess job-appropriate financial and technical skills and the right attitude to serve others with pride and professionalism.
“We cannot make this a country of freedom, peace and prosperity for all if service delivery is neglected by both elected officials and public servants who believe that holding a position of authority is an opportunity for self-enrichment.
“We cannot build an ethical State if those who make up the rank and file of the state are self-serving and unprincipled. We cannot professionalise the public service in a context where poorly qualified individuals are being parachuted into management positions through political patronage. These practices, wherever they occur, do not represent the majority of our people,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic
Minister Dlodlo thanked public servants for their selfless service to the people and for meeting their needs on a daily basis despite the threat of the deadly coronavirus.
She said the integrated approach to Public Service Month is important as it enables the ethos of a caring, responsive and capable public service to permeate through the country’s entire public administration system in responding to the needs of citizens.
“I wish you well during this year’s Integrated Public Service Month celebrations that incorporate the celebration of all government programmes for the month of September.
“This includes Heritage Month, our national police commemoration day, Thusong Service Week, our contribution to World Clean-up Day, and Tourism Month,” she said.
Chairperson of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), Ms Ingrid Dimo said: “Our public servants have also made us proud as the PSCBC…it is encouraging to see the resilience and the spirit of the South African public servants and enthusiasm to serve and to uphold the Batho Pele principles even during this pandemic.
“We want to reiterate to our citizens that at the centre of delivery service to our citizens is that which ensures that we render services that is more accessible, that is of quality, affordable and sustainable.”
Advocate Richard Sizani, chairperson of the Public Service Commission said it was heart-warming that the majority of public servants have heeded government call to be vaccinated.