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Government rewards hardworking public servants

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Hardworking and dedicated public servants were honoured at the 7th National Batho Pele Excellence Awards (NBPEA) held in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg recently.  

Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo conferred eight Special Ministerial awards saying, the NBPEA ‘recognise the sterling and outstanding contribution of our public servants in the service of our people.

“The National Batho Pele Excellence Awards are an integral part of the ongoing strategy to build a capable state and professional public service cadre on which the realisation of Vision 2030 of the [National Development Plan] NDP depends.

“As we celebrate those public servants who have demonstrated their commitment to the people of South Africa, it would be remiss not to recognise the hard work of the various teams that have gotten us to this eagerly awaited evening, even though it was delayed by the COVID-19 disruptions.

“I therefore, would like to take this opportunity to congratulate tonight’s finalists as well as acknowledge the hard work of the many people who have made the evening worthy of the Batho Pele Excellence Awards,” she said.

Being a public servant according to Minister Dlodlo is the noblest of callings. “It demands dedication, selflessness, professionalism and the utmost faithfulness to the principles of Batho Pele; that of putting the people first.

“Public servants have a responsibility to ensure that in the execution of their duties and responsibilities, they adhere to ethical conduct, as well as honoring the provisions of the Constitution and other laws of the Republic; it is an honour and privilege to serve,” she said.

The Minister said public servants are required to put the public interest first in the execution of their official duties and to respond ethically to the needs of its citizens. 

If it is an illegal instruction or decision, she said public servants has the right to say no and to report such activity to the relevant authorities.

“Public servants must report to the relevant authorities, fraud, corruption, nepotism and any other act which constitutes a contravention of any law.

“The public servants being honoured tonight demonstrate how public servants can reclaim the trust that some of our people seem to have lost in the institutions of government.

“We trust that the cream of the crop that will be honored tonight will continue to encourage the rest of the public service to take this challenge in its stride,” she said.

The top achievers at the 7th National Batho Pele Excellence Awards are:

  1. Best General Worker of the Year (there was a tie between 3 winners), who are:
  2. Mr Hlulizitha Eric Buthelezi from Kwazulu-Natal’s Social Development-Nkandla office took home the Gold award in this category;
  3. Ms Raesibe Annah Letsoalo from Tara Hospital in Gauteng; and
  4. Ms Ponaki Eunice Plaatjie from Thaba Nchu Clinic in the Free State shared the silver award.
  5. Best Frontline Service Delivery Employee of the Year
  6. Ms Ziphozonke Fortunate Mkhize from the Kwazulu-Natal’s Provincial Department of Social Development, Pinetown office took the honours in this category, winning the Gold award. She was also the ultimate overall Outstanding Batho Pele Public Servant of the Year, which has only one outright winner across all the categories. For her efforts, she was rewarded with R20 000;
  7. Ms Agnes Segaka Rasesemola from Sunrise View Secondary School in Rustenburg in the North West province shared the second prize with Mr Albert Onkabetse Mohitlhi from the Jabu Sakhu School in Taung also in the North West. They each received R6 000 as a reward;
  8. Ms Ribonnar Deidre from the Western Cape’s Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works finished third, receiving a R4 000 reward.
  9. The Best Doctor of the Year
  10. The Gold in this category was a tie between Dr Phetho Mashaole Mangena from the Mankweng Hospital in Limpopo and Dr Nicholas Ernest Pearce from the Free State Health department;
  11. The second position was also a tie between Dr Mzekelo Godongwana from the Amathole Stutterheim hospital in the Eastern Cape and Dr Abraham Barry Smith from the national Department of Health.
  12. The Best Covid-19 Health Worker Winner of the Year
  13. Ms Likelepi Leah Lephokwane from the National Department of Health scooped the Gold in this category; while
  14. The Silver prize was a tie between Ms Patricia Effraine Greef, from the National Department of Health and Ms Sindisiwe Gede from the Amathole Stutterheim hospital;
  15. The Bronze prize went to Ms Palesa Moetsela from the National Department of Health.
  • The Best Researcher of the Year
  • The only prize to be awarded in this category (Gold) was shared by Dr Dakalo Muavha, from the Department of Health, Limpopo and Dr Jonathan Moustakis, from Gauteng’s Lenasia’s Community Health Centre (CHC).
  • The Best Responsive Government Institution of the Year
  • The Gold prize was a three-way tie among Sun Rise View Secondary School (represented by Ms Agnes Segaka Rasesemola), the Social Development e-Thekwini Cluster (represented by Ms Nombulelo Carol Gebashe) and the Chris Hani – Baragwanath Academic Hospital (represented by Ms Sadna Balton);
  • The second prize (Silver) was also a tie between the Gauteng Provincial Government COVID-19 Response institution (represented by Ms Mildred Nkopane and Mr Thabo Masebe) and the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre (represented by Mr Deiner Colin).
  • The Outstanding Batho Pele Public Servant of the Year
  • Ms Ziphozonke Fortunate Mkhize from Kwazulu-Natal’s Social Development in Pinetown was declared the Overall Winner of the Year.
  • Ministerial Special Awards

There were three type of Ministerial Special Awards, namely, the Life Time Achievers, the Ministerial Special Covid-19, and the Ministerial Specialized Fields Award. The awards were as follows:

  • Life Time Achiever
  • Professor Eddie Mhlanga – awarded posthumously (died in March 2022). Prof. Mhlanga worked in several key positions as a specialist in the Department of Health in his 40 years of service. He served as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. He served as Professor and Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu Natal. At the time of his death he was chairperson of the National Committee of Confidential Enquiries into Maternal deaths;
  • Professor Ephraim Thibedi Mokgokong – a retired former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA), which has been renamed the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. He became the first African to be at the helm of a Medical University in the world (1992-1999). He was a qualified Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and was the First to be admitted as a Fellow of the College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of South Africa. He served the public service for a solid 37 years. Following his retirement he was appointed Chancellor. He continued to teach undergraduate students and specialists and extended the training to other provinces, notably Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga. His award was collected by his daughter as he was busy in theatre.
    • Minister’s Special Covid-19 Awards
  • Mr Sandile Cele is a Bio-Scientist from the Africa Health Research Institute in KwaZulu Natal, who isolated the Omicron variant from the Beta variant. South Africa was the first country to report about the Omicron variant in November-December 2021.
  • Professor Hellen Rees is the Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, University of the Witwatersrand. During the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic she was appointed to several national and international Committees, some of which she led, thus contributing to the combating of the pandemic.
  • Professor Tulio de Oliveira is a bio-informatician with over 20 years of experience in viral outbreaks. In December 2020 he identified the new Beta-variant, which has led to the discovery of new variants across the world, and improved scientists’ understanding of the effectiveness of the vaccines.
  • Professor Mosa Moshabela is the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He was the convener of the Covid-19 response team in the province and an Advisor to the Department of Health, working through the Ministerial Advisory Committee.
    • Ministerial Specialised Fields Awards
  • Mr Masilo Makhura, Chief Financial Officer who is recognised for his efforts in receiving clean audits for the DPSA (2015/16 and 2019/20), as well as being a recipient of the National Treasury’s Best Compliant Chief Financial Officer of the Year 2020/2021.

Mr Khangelani Sibiya is a teacher from KwaZulu Natal. In 2008 Mr Sibiya founded the non-governmental organisation KWV Tutoring, which provides extra classes in Mathematics and Science for learners. He uses social trends such as the latest dance moves, songs and sports to illustrate mathematics and science. His quarterly camps assist learners countrywide to improve the uptake and results of these subjects. Mr Sibiya was recently awarded the Best Global Teacher Award in Dubai for having reached over 25 000 learners countrywide, in addition to the innovative teaching approaches.