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Innovation needed in the public sector-Deputy Pilane-Majake

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There is a need to invest in creating an innovative culture in the public service space, says Public Service and Administration, Deputy Minister, Dr Chana Pilane-Majake.

The Deputy Minister was speaking at the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) 19th Public Sector Innovation Awards recently held in Boksburg aimed at recognising innovators in all spheres of government and public entities that were.

The Deputy Minister said government need to invest in creating an innovative culture in the public sector.

“This will help attract young innovators to retain the best innovators in the Public Service and empower officials who are enthusiastic about fulfilling government’s commitment to the people of South Africa.

“I am pleased that some of the projects were developed by coders employed in government. This is something that we need to do as departments to ensure that solutions are developed in-house,” she said.

Dr Pilane-Majake said innovation forms an integral and indispensable agent that can support the new service delivery model known as the District Development Model (DDM).

Unveiled in 2019, the DDM is intended to promote solid partnerships between the three spheres of government, the private sector and civil society in building the economy.

She further said the time to impact citizens’ lives in areas, which matter most, is long overdue and only through innovation can government find ways of expediting service delivery capacity to deal with the triple challenges in accordance with the new consensus that President Cyril Ramaphosa spelled out in his 2022 State of the Nation Address.

“In our endeavour to build a capable developmental state, we need to continue to harness the transformative power of innovation to irk out new cost-effective ways of adding value to the existing systems and practices to improve our service delivery capacity.

According to the Deputy Minister, innovations coming from the public service not only point to the depth of innovation and creativity amongst public servants, but also demonstrate the potential of innovation to transform government into a more flexible and agile machinery that can adapt its service delivery approach in line with any unexpected eventuality such as COVID-19.

“It is quite exciting that through the influence of the CPSI, we are noticing an increased collaboration amongst government institutions and importantly the youth, to fully leverage innovation as one of the main building blocks for a capable state,” she said.

She said the innovation awards also highlight the catalytic value of innovation in accelerating the delivery of services to improve the lives of citizens in line with Batho Pele.

Dr Pilane-Majake commended the CPSI for leading the way and defying all odds, to host the awards programme thereby challenging public servants to commit themselves towards finding COVID-inspired, fit-for-purpose innovations to help people to cope with life during the pandemic.

“Quite evidently, some of our public servants rose to that challenge and seized the numerous COVID-related opportunities to innovate for new and radical ways of ensuring that service delivery is not disrupted but continues against all odds.

“For the past 19 years since inception, the Annual Public Sector Innovations programme has never disappointed in unearthing and showcasing some highly impressive innovative, quality projects with such immeasurable impact on service delivery to our citizens.

“The Awards Programme continues to provide a repository for innovative impactful solutions that can be widely replicated in various areas where challenges of a similar nature prevail to prevent unnecessary wastage of government resources on solutions that already exist.

“One of the solutions that was replicated recently is the Sunward Park e-Learning Solution.

“A winner in the 2016 Awards, the solution was replicated in Katlehong and Reiger Park High Schools through the support of the CPSI.

“This is, beyond doubt, a very special occasion where we come together to recognise and celebrate innovation as displayed by none other but our own government employees to improve the delivery of services to their fellow citizens,” she said.

Winners

The Central Chronic Medication Dispensary and Distribution (CCMDD), who dominated the awards, were named the overall winner of the 19th Public Sector Innovation of the year 2021.

Ministerial Awards Winners

  • Early Child Learning and Development Centre;
  • Empowering Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder;
  • ICT integration in Grade 12 classroom and;
  • Geekulcha.

Trailblazers

  • Ms Nomusa Keninda
  • Mr Johan Pretorius
  • Etienne van Wyk
  • Mr Audrey Sebeelo
  • Ms Lucy Mbhele
  • Keletso Rafedile

Wilhem Fouche