Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas, at the Provincial launch of Constitutional Values and principles: Building a values-driven Public Service through an ethical leadership for service delivery Library Auditorium, Sol Plaatjie Uni

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Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
Speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Mr Kenny Mmoiemang
Acting Director-General, Ms Gugu Matlaopane
Public Service Commissioner, Ms Moira Marais-Martin
Representatives from Chapter Nine Institutions
Vice Chancellor of the Sol Plaatjie University, Professor Yunus Ballim
Public Servants
Representatives from Organised Labour
Members of the Media
Ladies and gentlemen

Theme: Inculcating the Constitutional values and principles including the Batho Pele Principles to build a values-driven Public Service

We meet at a time when we are observing Public Service Month, which was initiated as “Public Service Week” in 2005. This was as part of on-going efforts to promote a culture of continued and gradual improvement in all areas of Public Service delivery. This month is also set aside to honour men and women who serve our nation across the three spheres of government. Furthermore, it serves as a mechanism to assess the quality of service delivery in order to address areas that are found to be sub-standard or where it is evident that the Batho Pele strategy is being compromised. The Public Service Month is therefore a service delivery improvement programme and an integral part of the Batho Pele Revitalisation strategy. The vision of this month is to instil and rebuild good ethics and professionalism in how we as public servants do our work. 

Underpinning this vision are the Constitutional Values and Principles which did not only fashion the country’s democratic agenda, but also serves as a defining feature of the transformation of the public sector. For instance, the Constitutional values of human dignity (Ubuntu) and equality as well as public administration principles such as services must be provided fairly, equitably and without bias, and that public administration must be responsive to the needs of the people and give meaning to the Batho Pele principles. All public servants ought to be aware of the link between their actions, attitudes and behaviour and most importantly the values expressed in the Constitution.  

The Public Service Month takes place at a time when Government is hard at work with the implementation and monitoring of the transformative National Development Plan (Vision 2030), 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the African Union 2063 among others.

What makes the commemoration of Public Service Month more significant is the fact that it takes place in conjunction with the Centenary Celebration of the late 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 Sisulu was also a dedicated public servant who started work in Johannesburg as a midwife in 1946.

In honour of the 100 year anniversary of Madiba’s life we, as servants of the people, have to during this time reflect on the values he had left for us to emulate and give meaning to. 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 are afforded with the opportunity to truly be the legacy and to passionately become instruments and agents for the benefit of or communities we serve and whom we are part of.  

This call of service to mankind was further highlighted during the State of the Nation Address by President Ramaphosa where he called on us, public servants- to re-inculcate the values and attributes of Batho Pele and to fully give expression to the values of Ubuntu.  It therefore calls on us and our stakeholders to be determined to undertake our responsibilities with efficiency, diligence and integrity. He further called for a renewed discipline to be instilled, to do things correctly, to do them timeously and to do it with sincerity.

The proposed theme for the 2018 PSM is, “Thuma Mina”: Taking Public Service to the People: Batho Pele: “We Belong, We Care, We Serve’.     The theme and the activities of this month take into account the centenary celebrations of both Tata Nelson Mandela and Mme Albertina Sisulu.  It seeks to inculcate the value of “Service “and “Dignity” which were espoused by Tata Nelson Mandela. It further seeks to inculcate the value of Mama Albertina Sisulu of taking services to the people.

The early years of the democratic public service has been characterised by challenges of developing progressive and practical policies and frameworks in order to realise meaningful improvement in the delivery of services to the people of our country, especially previously disadvantaged communities. However one of the key challenges in this long road to service delivery improvement, has been the ability of the public service to implement policies in the most effective and efficient manner.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is openly acknowledged that vast strides have been made to add quality and meaning to the lives of our people. It is also, however, patently evident that deep levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment continue to plague our society. While we are cognisant of these realities, we should remain steadfast in our collective commitment to drastically alleviate poverty and improve the lives of communities through our social upliftment programmes.

Programme Director, service delivery improvement is one of the current Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014-2019) key themes and remains a priority of this Provincial Government as highlighted in our State of the Province Address this year. There have also been a number of Lekgotla resolutions taken with regard to providing services to our people. The political and administrative is also critical in determining the Sate of Governance in the Province and more specifically our accountability to our people in terms of service delivery. We should be particularly interested in the impact evaluation of services delivered and our people’s perceptions of the delivery of services by government.  What is also of importance is that service delivery should not solely focus on providing services but instead focus on restoring human and public trust in government.

This country and in particular the Northern Cape Provincial Government requires a public administration that is strong and committed to the execution of its responsibilities.  One that is people focused has the necessary array of skills and expertise pulled together and is always prepared to accept the dynamic challenges and opportunities posed by the deepening democracy.

It is also imperative that for public administration to achieve the objectives set; it must be transparent, honest, flexible, collaborative, innovative, creative and willing to work in partnership with business and social partners alike.

We must never lose sight of the important role we have to play in taking this country forward. The public service and public servants are essential in ensuring people have improved access to information, services and that citizen participation is improved. We should remain committed to ensuring that public servants serve citizens promptly and courteously, while assisting them to make informed choices when accessing services.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we engage in the signing of this pledge today, committing us to to the promotion and implementation of the Constitutional values and principles, we as Government and organs of State must work tirelessly to ensure public trust is maintained and improved. We must ensure that people trust government by turning despair into hope and giving people the tools to change their lives.

We must provide renewed hope and intent to the thousands of unemployed people especially youth. We must ensure that grants are a stepping stone to a better life with more opportunity. We must work with our social partners to ensure we create employment opportunities, tackle corruption and provide quality education.

As Government we are hard at work to improve our economy and create jobs, whilst also creating a safe environment for people to thrive and prosper. This is evident in the ambitious measures that are being embarked upon to grow the economy and attract foreign investment.

Public servants have both a moral and constitutional duty to lead the way in fighting and rooting out corruption. We need to continuously practise integrity and loyalty for future generations to copy and follow. We call on the public and all sectors of society to get involved in fighting corruption. By working together we can ensure that those who are corrupt have no place to hide.

As I conclude, I want to urge us that together we must ensure that the spirit of Thuma Mina grows into an unstoppable social movement for change. The renewed mood of optimism and hope is an opportunity to build a better and more inclusive tomorrow.  

Both our icons were distinguished and passionate servants of the people and worked tirelessly to serve all people of this great country South Africa whom we are proud citizens of. As I stand here I am proud to proclaim that I will at all times be led by the values and sterling example set by     Tata Nelson Mandela and Mamma Albertina Sisulu. I, as a servant of the people will to the best of my ability and led by my conscience serve our people with diligence and dignity. I will give selflessly of myself in service to others and I will champion change, prosperity and development to benefit all our people. I solemnly proclaim that I will be the personification of Ubuntu and the living embodiment of a servant of the people. I challenge you to do the same.

I thank you

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