Address by the Acting Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Grizelda Cjiekella on the occasion of the Batho Pele Service Delivery Symposium, Ruth First Auditorium, Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, 13 September 2012
Members of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature
Members of faith based organisations
Representatives from the Business Community
NGOS and Community based organisations
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure indeed to extend a warm welcome to all of you, to the Batho Pele Service Delivery Symposium.
The need for the “Batho Pele” service delivery month stems from the commitment made by the Honourable Premier, Ms Hazel Jenkins that we need to invest in programmes, projects and campaigns that put the interests of the people of the Northern Cape first by ensuring growth, development and improved Service Delivery in the Province.
As such all the national and provincial departments, including society at large, were required for the whole month of September to participate and thereby put in place activities and campaigns to take service delivery to higher levels of productivity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Batho Pele Service Delivery Month also coincides with the National Public Servants Month. This is an initiative which is an integrated strategic national event in the calendar of the Public Service and Administration Department.
Programme Director, the main objective of the Batho Pele service delivery month programme also seeks to instil and rebuild good ethics, morale and pride in public servants’ endeavours to translate the people’s contract into reality through the provision of quality services that respond to the needs of the citizens.
The Northern Cape Provincial Government is fully committed to building a caring province for its entire people. For us to realise this, we must constantly explore ways to provide the best possible level of service to all our communities, more especially to the poor, people with disabilities, women and children.
We are committed to improving access to government services and to remaining accountable and responsive to the public. We must also deliver on our promise to provide our citizens with excellent, efficient service to improve the quality of their lives.
We also acknowledge the support of our religious leaders and development stakeholders to partner government in providing services to our people.
Government, on its own, will not succeed in meeting the demand for services to the communities in the whole province.
Programme Director, this month 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 our ANC-led government to deliver on the demands made by our people in the Freedom Charter that the “people shall govern.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, our goal is to serve the interests and aspirations of society as a whole and to ensure that we protect and defend the freedoms, which we have long fought for and gained.
We have to ensure that every person in this Province has access to basic amenities and services that will allow for the full development of each and every member of our society.
The Northern Cape Province has come a long way in transforming the public service and ensuring effective service delivery, which had impacted positively on the lives of the poorest of the poor, people with disabilities, women and the youth of our country.
The province has sparked the development of a cadre of civil servants genuinely committed to the principles of Batho Pele thereby ensuring a maximum development impact from the prudent utilisation of scarce state resources.
We were able to touch the lives of our people in a number of ways to ensure that their quality of life is improved.
Programme Director, we are also aware of some public servants who do not want to go the extra mile in serving our people.
These are public servants who fail in their duties to provide basic services to our communities, especially those communities that are living in the far-flung areas.
Let me assure you that such lazy public servants do not belong in the public service and are a disgrace to our government.
While we will be putting more energy in the Batho Pele programme to improve the attitude of public servants, I have no doubt that most of our public servants at the coal-face of service delivery want to serve our people well and want to be proud of their work.
Ladies and Gentlemen, great strides had been made in the socio-political arena, including providing quality health care for all, better public schooling, housing, water and sanitation, education, health, electricity and improved access to social services right across our province and country.
While celebrating our achievements, we must constantly remind ourselves of the daunting challenges that lie ahead.
We must be mindful of the reality that far too many of our people are still trapped in conditions of poverty, underdevelopment and joblessness.
Many of them still do not have access to clean water, sanitation, quality health care, education and shelter.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have dedicated the second decade of democracy to solving these and other problems. We have demonstrated our ability to improve the lives of all South Africans.
We must intensify our efforts to work in partnership with our communities so that they benefit from our skills and talents in a significant manner.
President Jacob Zuma, during the State of the Nation Address indicated that “To achieve all our goals we must hold ourselves to the highest standards of service, (probity) decency and integrity,” and concluded by saying that South Africa was a nation filled with a hope born of the knowledge that if all worked together, the dreams of its citizens will be achieved.
In this regard we are leading the struggle to eradicate unemployment, inequality and poverty through promoting inclusive economic growth.
Programme Director, improving service delivery also calls for a shift away from inward-looking, bureaucratic systems, processes and attitudes, and a search for new ways of working which put the needs of the public first.
In essence we are obliged to provide services that are better, faster and more responsive to our citizens’ needs, and therefore a complete change in the way that services are delivered.
Ladies and Gentlemen, one of Government’s most important tasks is to build a public service capable of meeting the challenge of improving the delivery of public services to our citizens.
Access to decent public services is no longer a privilege to be enjoyed by a few; it is now the rightful expectation of all citizens, especially the majority population of our country who were previously disadvantaged and barred from enjoying such services.
This is why the guiding principle of public service transformation and reform is “service to the peopIe”.
I am confident that all of us who are gathered here will actively participate in the Batho Pele activities throughout the province and contribute in a meaningful manner to improve the plight of all our people, especially those with disabilities, the elderly, children and women.
I trust that all of us will continue to forge ahead despite our challenges. We have no option but to bring about better living conditions for our people.
I thank you