Batho Pele Premier's Service Excellence Awards

Speech by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas, on the Occasion of the Batho Pele Service Excellence Awards held on 18 September 2014 at Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley.

Programme Director
Elected Public Representatives
Members of the Adjudication Panel
All Public Servants
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

I feel obliged to commence my address by expressing my gratitude to the Batho Pele service excellence finalists for going beyond their call of duty in the service of our province and its people.

We are gathered here tonight, on a momentous occasion that marks the recognition of the teams that have displayed commitment and zeal in the execution of their duties. We are here to pay tribute to the humble and loyal public servants who continuously strive to improve the lives of our citizens day and night, far from the gaze of the spotlight.

We are here to instil a renewed public service ethos and patriotism in the public service which is geared towards placing our people first. These public servants draw their strength and courage from the fact that they know that the people who they serve depend on them for survival.

Programme Director, the recipients to be honoured tonight have demonstrated extraordinary leadership attributes, compassion and humility. They have taken it upon themselves the responsibility to ensure that as they perform their daily duties, they must at the same time inspire others.

It has indeed provided us with an ideal opportunity to reach out and interact with our communities as well as to gain first-hand experience about their concerns and frustrations, which will go a long way in demonstrating the commitment of the ANC-led government to deliver on the demands made by our people  as contained in the Freedom Charter that the “people shall govern.”

Through your commitment and dedication, you have added value to the lives of our people who have immensely benefited from the services that is rendered by public servants. As public servants, you have delivered within the confines of the limited resources available in the public service; maximised them and ensured that optimal results have been achieved. All the finalists surely deserve to be honoured.

The Northern Cape Province has come a long way in transforming the public service to ensure effective service delivery, which has impacted positively on the lives of the poorest of the poor, people with disabilities, women and the youth of our country.

Indeed, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Batho Pele Service Excellence Award is an ongoing exercise of sharing with the citizens of the Northern Cape and government employees, that excellence in service delivery is central to everything that government expects from all public servants. This event is therefore to bring into the open the sometimes lonely and unrecognised efforts of those who have gone beyond the call of duty and are doing their work diligently, efficiently and effectively, without complaining.

I wish to take some time to reflect on the principles of Batho Pele as espoused in, first the White paper, as well as the additional principles on which we have agreed on and these are as follows:

 

  1. Consultation: Citizens will be consulted about the level and quality of the public services they receive and wherever possible, will be given a choice about the services that are offered.
  2. Service standards: Citizens will be told what level and quality of public services they will receive so that they are aware of what to expect. These standards will be set at a level that is demanding yet realistic.
  3. Access: All citizens will have equal access to the services to which they are entitled.
  4. Courtesy: Citizens will be treated with courtesy and consideration.
  5. Information: Citizens will be given full and accurate information about the public services they are entitled to receive.
  6. Openness and Transparency: Citizens will be given information on how the three spheres of government, that is, national, provincial and local government and the various departments function, as well the cost of services provided.
  7. Redress: Dealing with complaints - If the promised standard of service is not delivered, citizens will be offered an apology, a full explanation and a speedy and effective remedy. When complaints are made, citizens will receive a sympathetic, positive response.
  8. Value for Money: Public services will be provided economically and efficiently in order to give citizens the best possible value for money.
  9. Encouraging innovation and rewarding excellence: Departments will ensure that an environment conducive to the delivery of services is created to enhance the capacity of their personnel to deliver good services.
  10. Service delivery impact: Departments will measure and report regularly, using the sum total of all Batho Pele initiatives, the impact of Batho Pele-based service delivery on the lives of the citizens of the province, in the first three years and thereafter every five years.
  11. Leadership and strategic direction: All the leaders in the service delivery chain will provide direction, create alignment, engage staff, create effective partnerships and demonstrate ethical and sound values.


Ladies and Gentlemen, going forward, the Public Service has a key role to play as we seek to transform the way we govern; the way we formulate policies and the way we deliver public services. We need to do this in a manner which will connect with the citizens.

Public Servants are moving in the right direction towards eradicating poverty and underdevelopment by extending basic services to all our communities. Being nominated as a finalist is a clear indication that government already has a core group of staff who regard themselves as change agents to continuously transform the public service to become more efficient, effective, responsive, user-friendly, accountable and committed to inculcating a strong culture within the context of the notion of “We care, We Belong, We serve”.

Last but not least, may I extend my warmest congratulations to the award winners of the Batho Pele Service Excellence Awards for their outstanding performance.

The awards we are conferring tonight are therefore a confirmation that indeed we have people who are ready and willing to take our performance to a higher level and to champion a new way of doing business.

The wonderful examples they have set for the Northern Cape at large deserve a big applause.

I thank you

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