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Govt commits to continue improving service delivery

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Government strongly believe that moving together with South Africans, there will be greater awareness of the Batho Pele principles and an improved service delivery.

Speaking at the launch of the Batho Pele Revitalisation Strategy in Pretoria on Friday, Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister, Dr Chana Pilane-Majake said the Indaba marks the 25th anniversary of the Batho Pele policy, a framework for transforming public service of South Africa.

“As Government, we continue to believe that by acting in partnership with the people of South Africa there will be greater awareness of the Batho Pele principles; increased compliance with the constitutional values of public accountability and transparency; innovative public service delivery and other good practices initiatives and most importantly improved service delivery,”

The Indaba which also seeks to inspire public servants to uphold the principles of Batho Pele was held under the theme “Batho Pele Revitalisation – Walking The Talk”

The Batho Pele Indaba is taking place during the 2022 integrated Public Service Month which is focused on evaluating progress made in transforming the public service; taking stock of the challenges experienced; and charting the way forward to strengthen the Batho Pele principles towards improvement of the lives of the people of South Africa.

According to the Deputy Minister, Batho Pele policy can be judged by only one criterion- its effectiveness and efficiency in delivery of services to South Africans.

 “This explains why the theme for this year’s integrated Public Service Month is a call for public servants to Walk the Talk of Batho Pele demonstrating clear understanding of the intension of the strategy.

“This is a call for public servants to recommit themselves to Batho Pele caring principles as revised Batho Pele Revitalisation strategy,” she said.

Batho Pele Journey

September 2022 marks twenty-five years since government adopted the Batho Pele White Paper on Transforming Public Service Delivery.

The first fifteen years of Batho Pele policy focused largely on institutional realignment, the improvement of capacity, and compliance monitoring through transformative policy framework with the assistance of the monitoring conducted by the PSC.

Between 2005 and 2009, the Public Service Commission conducted a total of eight studies to monitor the level of compliance by public institutions to Batho Pele policy.

Deputy Minister Pilane-Majake said the findings of this study confirmed the commitment of public institutions in the implementation of Batho Pele towards a transformed and people centred public service.

She further said the findings identified inadequate skills in public service, the absence of Batho Pele norms and standards, and inability to link Batho Pele principles with organisational strategy.

In 2012, the Public Service Commission (PSC) again released an assessment report on the effectiveness of the Batho Pele Policy in the public service.

Dr Pilane-Majake said the report went beyond Batho Pele compliance issues, and examined whether Batho Pele policy has made any significance difference in the lives of citizens.

The recommendations of the PSC were

  • The need to re-design, strengthen, and revitalise the Batho Pele implementation approach in order to improve its impact;
  • The recommendations were corroborated by other similar studies on the efficacy of the Batho Pele policy such as the Human Sciences Research Council and scholars of Public Administration.

In response to these findings and recommendations, the DPSA took the lead in developing the Batho Pele Revitalisation Strategy to ensure the overall effectiveness of the Batho Pele principles towards improved service delivery.

Batho Pele Revitalisation strategy

Batho Pele Revitalisation strategy seeks to re-affirm the significance of Batho Pele in transforming public service for maximum benefit for citizens in line with their constitutional rights to be treated with dignity, courtesy and provided quality service.

The revised Batho Pele Revitalisation strategy and its accompanying Minimum Standards were approved by Cabinet in March earlier this year.

According to Dr Pilane-Majake, the revised Batho Pele Revitalisation strategy is therefore, a re-designed implementation mechanism for Batho Pele policy.

The strategy is underpinned by five inter-connected pillars which includes:

  • Building the capacity of the State and learning from past and current Batho Pele implementation practices.
  • Developing Batho Pele standards and communication approaches in consultation with diverse stakeholders.
  • Fostering Compliance through appropriate monitoring of compliance tools.
  • Reinforcement of Batho Pele standards.
  • Redress for citizens as government’s constitutional obligations.

“Each of these pillars is characterised by associated flagship projects that forms part of the overall efforts of Government to build a capable, ethical and developmental state in line with Priority 1 of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Operationalising the Batho Pele Revitalised strategy 

The Deputy Minister said that operationalisation of the revised Batho Pele Revitalisation Strategy will bring about a public administration that entrenches Constitutional values.

However, she said this highly depends on public servants who should Walk the Talk of Batho Pele and translate the strategy into tangible results for citizens.

“The five pillars of the Batho Pele Revitalisation Strategy will be streamlined through an implementation master plan that outlines what will be done (Aims); why it will be done (Objectives); how will it be done (Activities and Tasks); and by when it will be done(Timeframes).

“This implementation master plan will be available on the DPSA website and we encourage departments and municipalities to align their Batho Pele initiatives with this master plan.

“The revised strategy will be evaluated through the Minimum Standards for Batho Pele,” she said.

These minimum standards were developed through a consultative process with various stakeholders; and it is expected that departments and municipalities will refine these standards to suit their respective contexts.