Minister Ayanda Dlodlo: Launch of 2018 Public Service Month

Remarks by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, MP, at the launch of the 2018 Public Service Month, Velmore Conference Centre, Tshwane

Councilors present;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Programme Director:

We are gathered here today to launch one of the most critical flagship programmes of our country, the Public Service Month, which will be taking place from 1 – 30 September 2018 across the three spheres of government. The theme for this year’s Public Service Month is, Thuma Mina – Taking Public Service to the People: Batho Pele: We Belong, We Care, We Serve.

Public Service Month serves to honour men and women who serve our nation with pride, dignity and commitment. This program also serves as a mechanism to assess the quality of service delivery with a view to improve the quality of our service offering to comply to the standards of the Batho Pele Principles of accountability, quality service and commitment.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As a service delivery improvement programme, the PSM is an integral part of the Batho Pele Revitalisation strategy, with an enduring vision to:

instill and rebuild good ethics and professionalism in how public servants do their work;

recommit and rededicate the public servants to the principles of Batho Pele;

improve the morale and inculcate a sense of pride of being a public servant; and

to improve service delivery by exposing senior and middle managers to the coalface service delivery points to identify challenges and develop plans for corrective action and interfacing with the citizens.

As the Ministry for the Public Service and Administration, we are custodians of the Public Service in South Africa as entrusted by the Constitution. This country needs a Public Service that is developmental, caring and progressive.

We are therefore guided by the National Development Plan (NDP) to build a Public Service that supports a capable and developmental state. The NDP complements our constitutional imperative to create a public administration that is professional, responsive capable and responsible.

During the Public Service Month and beyond, we should demonstrate that we are committed to building a caring public administration that recognises and acknowledges the contribution of public servants to the ideal Public Service we aspire to attain.

This ideal Public Service should among others, create a conducive working environment which instils a sense of belonging to all public servants. Through many of our other professional and innovative programs, we strive to position the public service as a career and employer of choice to young graduates and public servants in general.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The 2018 Public Service Month celebrations are more significant as they take place in conjunction with the centenary celebrations of the late former President Nelson Mandela, and of one of the great daughters of the African soil Mama Albertina Sisulu, who dedicated her life to fight for the emancipation of women and the liberation of South Africa.

Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu was a fearless champion of democracy and human rights. We celebrate her centenary under the theme is: Albertina Sisulu – A woman of fortitude, in recognition of her courage, discipline, integrity and love for her country. MaSisulu was also a dedicated public servant who started work in Johannesburg as a midwife in 1946. She demonstrated the spirit of Batho Pele during the dark years of apartheid by going an extra mile, walking to visit patients in townships to provide help and assistance as a nurse and a dedicated public servant.

In marking the 100 year anniversary of Madiba’s life we have an opportunity as Government to reflect on the values he left us. Through his values and dedication to the service of humanity, we remain inspired to become a united and prosperous nation that contributes towards building a better world for all. We have an opportunity to reflect on how we can continue his legacy and work together to move the country forward. Tata Nelson Mandela inspires us to become instruments of change and support the less fortunate within our communities.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

In the State of the Nation Address early this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa made a clarion call to public servants to adhere to the Batho Pele Principles, by putting our People First. All Public Service stakeholders should be determined to undertake their responsibilities with efficiency, diligence and integrity. He further called for a new discipline to be instilled, to do things correctly, to do them completely and to do them timeously. He made a call on all public servants to become agents of change. We dare not fail the President’s on this important call.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This morning, we had the opportunity to engage with public servants and management at Kalafong Hospital in order to have an overview on their service to the public. We have noted the issues of the long queues which result in patients spending long hours in the hospital. At the same time, we realised that the shortage of health practitioners also contributes to the hospital taking a long time to assist patients. We have engaged the hospital management on these matters and will escalate these issues to MEC of Health in Gauteng Province, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa.

Allow me to commend the many public servants who conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner when executing their official duties. Their behaviour reflects the values of an ideal Public Service as espoused by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the Public Service Code of Conduct.

It is important to reiterate that the primary purpose of the Code of Conduct is a positive one, namely to promote exemplary conduct so as to build a professional Public Service as envisaged in the National Development Plan. That said, it is also important to know that in terms of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council Resolution 2 of 1999, all the employees in the Public Service have the responsibility to comply with the prescribed Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct forms the main basis on which pro-active, corrective and even disciplinary action rests. If an employee contravenes any provision of the Code of Conduct, an employee shall be guilty of misconduct in terms of the Public Service Act (as amended).

Public servants are therefore reminded that it is required of them, amongst others, to put the public interest first in the execution of their official duties as per Regulation 11 (b). They must also be committed through timely service to the development and upliftment of all South Africans as per Regulation 12 (e). Public servants must not engage in any transaction or action that is in conflict with or infringes on the execution of his or her official duties.

The Code of Conduct is clear that public servants must execute their official duties in a professional and competent manner. It also prescribes that public servants, when on official duty, dress and behaves in a manner that is befitting of a public service employee

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As Government, as Public Administration, as Public Service, we are all accountable to the citizens of our country.

Batho Pele Principles demand that:

public servants must Consult citizens on the level and quality of services rendered;

public servants must inform citizens of the Service Standards they should expect;

public servants should give citizens Access to services they are entitled to;

public servants must treat citizens with Courtesy;

public servants must provide citizens with correct and accurate Information on services they are entitled to receive;

public servants should demonstrate to the citizens the Openness and Transparency on how government is run;

public servants must provide citizens with a Redress mechanism if the promised standard of service is not delivered; and finally,

public servants must render public services on a Value for Money basis in order to ensure that services to the citizens are provided economically and efficiently.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As Government and Public Service, we are guided by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which envisages a Public Service that, amongst others, maintains and promotes a high standard of professional ethics; promotes efficient, economic and effective use of resources, and is accountable for its actions.

In order to achieve this ideal Public Service as enshrined in the Constitution, government has reviewed the Public Service Regulations including clauses that prohibit public servants from accepting gifts when performing their official duties, conducting business with any organ of state or being a director of a public or private company conducting business with an organ of State.

As government, we have already informed public servants to disclose their business activities involving any organs of State and that such employees should, by January 2017, make a decision either to resign from the Public Service or relinquish their business activities.

Through this intervention, government intends to eliminate any form of corruption in the Public Service. When the government anti-corruption drive eliminates the corrupt activities from the system, the resources saved will enable it to efficiently and effectively deliver services to you, citizens of our county. Corruption deprives our citizens of resources which would make their lives better.

In the same breath, we make a call upon public servants to stick rules and policies that govern our country. Public servants have an obligation not just to take unlawful instructions from their superiors � even if that superior is a Minister, a Deputy Minister, Director-General or Head of Department. An unlawful instruction remains just that � an unlawful instruction and public servants have a duty to uphold the rules and policies that govern our public service.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We learned an expensive and painful lesson through the Life Esidimeni tragedy on how public servants carried out unlawful instruction which had disastrous endings. We dare not repeat the same mistake hence I challenge any public servant to report such unlawful instruction to the Public Service Commission.

In fact, Public Service Regulations of 2016, Regulation 13 (e), places an obligation upon public servants to immediately report to the relevant authorities, fraud, corruption, nepotism, maladministration and any other act which constitutes a contravention of any law (including, but not limited to, a criminal offence) or which is prejudicial to the interest of the public, which comes to his or her attention during the course of his or her employment in the public service.

Also, in terms of Public Service Regulations of 2016, public servants are required to immediately report any non-compliance of the Public Service Act to the head of department.

I therefore urge public servants as well as citizens that, when you exposed to or know of any kind of corrupt activity taking place within the government system, please call the National Anti-Corruption Hotline: 0800 701 701 to report such activity.

These measures are in place as a clear demonstration that government is committed to uprooting corruption within its system.

In conclusion:

Let us use the period of the Public Service Month and beyond to honour the legacy of both former President Mandela and MaSisulu by inculcating the Batho Pele Value Statement when providing services to our people.

We must honour the legacy of the Tata Mandela and MaSisulu by working together to build a country and a public service that we all can be proud of. Every day, as we execute our responsibilities, we must ensure that we act professionally, we conduct ourselves ethically, we are corruption-free and we respect the law.

Public Servants, you are duty-bound to uphold the Batho Pele Principles on daily basis so that our communities can be assured that as a Public Service, We Belong (to them), We Care (about them), We Serve (them).

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa