Premier's Keynote Address

Keynote address by former Premier D. Peters - commemoration of the 31st Anniversary of the June 16 Uprising

Programme Director,
Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Your Worship, Executive Mayor Hazel Jenkins
Your Worship, Mayor of Emthanjeni, Councillor Markman
NC Youth Commission Chairperson, Commissioner Bezuidenhoudt
Youth leaders and our esteemed youth
Leaders of our political parties and civil society formations
Our religious and traditional leaders
Our valued guests, Ladies and gentlemen
Comrades and Friends


We are gathered here once again to give special recognition and praise to those of our public servants who remain fully dedicated to their work and persistently seek creative and innovative ways to meet the challenges facing them in their daily tasks.

It is with a great sense of pride and joy that we present to the people of the Northern Cape the teams of our employees whose creativity and commitment to the Batho Pele principles have contributed towards making our province a better place.

We look forward to the day when the judges will find it difficult to select the winners, as all the public servants in the employ of the Northern Cape government will be deserving winners.

I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to all the teams that have been nominated for the awards. All of you including those that did not make it to the final round make the Northern Cape Provincial Administration proud with the efforts that you put into your work everyday.
It is indeed very encouraging and heartwarming to note that the modest contribution you make in continuing to build a better South Africa is being recognized.

 

Tonight we are here to recognize excellence in how we provide services to our people beyond the call of duty. We are promoting a culture of service excellence in the delivering of public services.

 

As I congratulate the winners tonight I am also excited that I have a team of women and men in the province who believe that our people deserve a good service.

 

What makes your achievements remarkable is the fact that the awards are a testimony to our commitment to improve efficiency and provide a quality service to the public and also demonstrate just how far we are able to go to improve the lives of our people.
Nothing is more exciting than for us to come together to celebrate progress and achievements.

 

It is therefore imperative that we should continue to award those who sacrifice their time and are dedicated to delivering services and ensuring that we fulfill the promises that we made to our communities. Through these awards we will be encouraging the culture of dedication and commitment among our public servants.

 

The fact that we hold this event every year indicates that each year our public servants strive to do better, and therefore the way we provide services to our people improve each year.

 

These awards are made more meaningful by the fact that your work is being recognized by the provincial government that you serve so diligently.

 

We are always in dire need of dedicated, patriotic and action orientated young intellectuals who will contribute to building the kind of prosperous and successful society we envisage.

 

This is a society without poverty and underdevelopment, where men and women, girls and boys live in dignity, with access to opportunities to make their lives better and meaningful.

 

We all need to be aware of the extreme hardships facing our people and continue to seek ways of assisting where we can.

 

I am hopeful that the awards we will be bestowing to you tonight will contribute in earnest to the process of developing our province and its people.

 

We have to continually ensure that our public servants are empowered with the knowledge and skills in various fields and are able to correctly analyse the challenges that our province face, and suggest workable solutions.

 

An unknown writer once said 'it is not enough for us to understand and comment on the challenges facing our country, but that we should use our skills and knowledge to contribute solutions.'

 

These should be solutions that are informed by strong Batho Pele consciousness and supported by time-honoured value systems and ways of doing things. The solutions we propose to our challenges would be sustainable if they are informed by this understanding of the African environment we work and live in.

 

This is the challenge I would like to leave with you honoured and hard working public servants.

 

To our recipients, this award should be a symbol of hope and a spear to rejuvenate you to continue in your endeavors.
It is also an affirmation that your hard work did not go in vain and is highly appreciated. It is a symbol of appreciation from our people whom you have touched and helped, it is a candle which will shine bright giving hope to the hopeless, it is a diamond which should shine over others and make those around you to shine with you.

 

Government should therefore acknowledge the significant contribution to the cause of service delivery and continue to inspire past, current and future recipients.

 

The awards also seek to raise awareness around sustainability and service excellence and encourage and promote pride amongst our public servants for their achievements. These awards should create role models and promote sharing of knowledge and skills for the growth and development of our province.

 

I also extend my appreciation to our spo nsors who made this day a success by working tirelessly with our team in ensuring that we celebrate this day with all of you. We are encouraged by the fact that we are supported by the business community in celebrating this excellence.

 

Your contribution is highly appreciated and welcomed by our government and people. Your support of this initiative is an investment in the prosperity of the future of our country.

 

The judges who traveled throughout the province to evaluate our entrants, thank you for listening to the President's call of volunteerism. Your strictness and thorough scrutiny of government's service improvement is welcomed by us. We are told you do not smile, joke and laugh when you are on your judging errands.

 

Keep on keeping civil servants on their toes.

These awards are a critical investment in the future of our country. We salute our recipients for their commitment to our people; your sacrifice does not go unnoticed by our government and people. This is an indication of your hard work and determination to make us succeed, for the betterment of our country.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, in today's knowledge driven world, the wealth of the country is not limited to the resources beneath the soil, industries and other forms of production. Our wealth also depends on the knowledge that we have as a society. It is for this reason that we celebrate the Premier's Service Excellence Awards.

With these awards the stage is set to entrench such a culture of excellence.

 

Ladies and gentlemen we should always be mindful that economic growth and sustainable development are dependent on all levels of society engaging in problem solving and developing innovative solutions. Within government we encourage innovation among our own employee particularly those innovations that are people-centred and result in improved service delivery, better government, and a better life for all.

 

These awards tally well with our attempts to retain skilled staff and reward them for work well done. One of our key responsibilities include the setting of the macro framework for human resource management, ensuring the building of the necessary human resource and organizational capacity.

 

We have to continuously ask ourselves whether the people we employ in the public service have the capacity to do what we expect from them and can we adequately monitor what they do to ensure we use their skills and knowledge effectively.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, we are faced with desperate levels of hardship of large sections of our population. One day passing without making progress to a better life is too long. While speeding up delivery we are expected to radically overhaul the entire machinery of state. Such challenges are immensely complex and time consuming.

 

We therefore cannot overemphasize the importance of your role as public servants in ensuring that no day passes by without delivering services to our deserving people. We count on you to do what is right for our people and to do that in the spirit of UBUNTU.

 

We strive to keep our democracy in line with the will of the people, giving direct voice to the people and adjusting our administration in a manner where the relationship between citizen and official is not one of the powerless to the all powerful, or ignorant to the know-all expert, but relationships of empowered citizens who are looking towards public officials to truly serve their needs and holding them accountable to exactly that.

 

Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, we function in a public sector landscape that has changed significantly from where government departments were the only institutions delivery public services.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, our people are not concerned as to who is responsible for providing water and electricity, whether it is the Provincial Department of Local government department or municipal offices, this is of no concern to them but that the service is ultimately provided.
I am particularly pleased with the performance of our Community Development Workers. Indeed this is an important initiative to assist with coordination and integration across government while directly alleviating the plight of our people on the ground.

 

Our CDW are already active in solving problems and solving and assisting the public to negotiate the institutional maze of public service delivery institutions.

 

Creating and nurturing capacity for development is at the centre of discussions within government. Declaring ourselves as the 'Employer of Choice', will facilitate us recruiting the best possible employees, and in turn also retaining our very best.
Therefore in this event we are once more displaying our sincere appreciation to our public servants.

 

There is a general agreement that a strong state is a pre-requisite for creating and maintaining the space for market and civil society to flourish in, and to reach their respective full potential. These shifts should help us in restoring status of public servants.

 

Nevertheless, the proportion of disabled persons in the public service still remains unsatisfactory. We have not seen a significant growth in the overall provincial figures. People with disabilities continue to represent an untapped resource in the public service and demands urgent attention. We are addressing this matter more aggressively by pro-actively searching for potential employees.

 

We now want to set higher targets for women managers and aspire to meet our target as far as possible.

 

The question is how we are going to provide the necessary support to women and ensure that we remove all obstacles for women to progress.

 

In conclusion,

 

I also want to use this opportunity to thank your families, husbands, wives, children, parents and extended families who continue to give you the support and courage you need to serve this government. They are the ones who keep you strong and focused. They are the ones we all draw our energies from when the levels are low.They are our fiercest supporters but sometimes also the harshest and most honest critics. They are the ones that perpetually tell you that quick fixes such as taking sick leave when you are not sick and the urge to resign when fed-up with a colleagues or your manager are not the route to go.

 

I have no doubts that the support you give to this government will ensure that we succeed relentlessly and creatively, and let our people live and walk the aspirations of the Freedom Charter.

 

I wish you all well, keep up the good work.

 

I thank you

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