Batho Pele Premier’s Service Excellence Awards

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Speech by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Mrs Hazel Jenkins, on the occasion of the Premier’s Batho Pele Service Excellence Awards Gala Evening, 07 October 2011, Mayibuye Centre, Galeshewe, Kimberley.
It gives me great pleasure to be here tonight to join you for the Batho Pele Premier’s Excellence Awards celebration which recognises exceptional achievement in the public service.

We meet here tonight, on an occasion that marks the recognition of public servants who have gone the extra mile to make a difference to ordinary people whose lives depend on these services. We are talking about public servants who have spent long hours away from the comfort of their homes to bring much needed services to our people who stay in the far-flung and the remotest areas of our province.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 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 surely have demonstrated some 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.

Leadership is not only to lead others but more about influencing others to lead. These are the people who without doubt are driven by the fact that you cannot conquer what you will not confront. They have confronted the limited resources available in the public service, maximised them and ensured that they achieve optimal results. They surely deserve to be honoured.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our collective calling is to serve with humility and integrity in the course of leading, delivering services, developing our communities and, with these communities, creating a better life for all South Africans.

In furtherance of the common and greater good, we have no option but to conduct our affairs with integrity, probity and ethical conduct of the highest order.

Programme Director, I wish to reiterate the point which I have made during the closing ceremony of the Public Service Month in that the Service delivery Month has indeed provided us with an ideal opportunity to reach out and interact with our communities as well as 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 in the Freedom Charter that the “people shall govern.”

For Government to improve service delivery to all its citizens, in particular to be responsive and accountable to communities it serves and to collectively turn around the negative perception of Government, drastic action is called for.

While we will be putting more energy into the Batho Pele programme to improve the attitudes of public servants, I have no doubt that most of our public servants at the coal-face of service delivery want to serve the people well and want to be proud of their work.

Ladies and Gentlemen in the past decade, our public service sector has continued to play an increasingly important role in the lives of ordinary South Africans.

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 way which will connect positively with the citizens.

Indeed, as South African society is diverse and that which our citizens want and expect become more wide-ranging, the challenges faced by our public officers will also grow in terms of magnitude and complexity. It is neither effective nor sustainable for the Public Service to try to solve all these problems on our own. We need to tap on the collective wisdom and knowledge of the people and stakeholders to help tackle the challenges. We need to create an environment where public officers can work hand-in-glove with the people they serve in order to address various issues and create greater public value. Ultimately, this involvement will help create a South Africa where citizens can freely engage and have shared ownership of the challenges, thereby striving for solutions together. This will provide the foundation for a more resilient and cohesive society.

Ladies and Gentlemen we want to promote Ubuntu and a culture of service delivery excellence within the public service. We must uphold the highest standard of service delivery by putting in place a value system that delivers service with loyalty, honesty, integrity, fairness, care and professionalism

A quality service culture is essential in sustaining and driving the public service which has become increasingly service-oriented.

The valuable contributions that the public servants have made over the years in entrenching a quality customer service culture in our country are highly regarded in many quarters.

Public servants are moving in the right direction toward eradicating poverty and underdevelopment by extending basic services to all our communities. Being nominated 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 of the notion of “We care, We Belong, We serve”.

Batho Pele is not about plans, documents, posters and statements of intent to improve service delivery. It is about life experiences and the practical application of Batho Pele principles in the daily interactions with the citizens of the province. With our partner Ernst & Young, the Batho Pele Premier’s Service Excellence Awards is a shining example of a public-private partnership that serves as an inspiration of how government and the private sector can work together for a greater good of all the people in the Northern Cape Province and indeed all South Africans.

Last but not least, may I extend my warmest congratulations to the award winners of the Batho Pele Premier’s Service Excellence Awards for their outstanding performance in customer care services. The wonderful examples they have set for the Northern Cape at large deserves a hearty applause.


I thank you

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