Pretoria – Corruption is cancer; it steals from the poor, undermines service delivery and stifles economic growth, says Acting Public Service and Administration Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize.
“Public Service across the continent needs public servants who are ethical, value-driven and who do not engage in corruption,” the Minister said.
Addressing the Africa Public Service Day (APSD) event held at the Saint George Hotel in Centurion, Pretoria, Minister Mkhize said public servants are expected to use public resources effectively and economically, and services rendered to citizens should be without discrimination.
“The Constitution outlines the values that should be embraced by our public service, which include a high standard of professional ethics, development orientation, responsiveness and fairness, and encouraging public participation.
“The demand for improved service delivery requires that government operate in an entirely different manner, based on a citizen-centric, proactive, and customised governance approach,” said Minister Mkhize.
This year’s Africa Public Service Day is celebrated under the theme “Entrenching a citizen-centred service delivery culture, partnering with the youth for Africa’s transformation”.
The theme is in line with the African Union’s 2063 Agenda whose desire is for Africans to have a continent that puts its citizens at the centre of all programmes and projects and the decision of the AU’s Heads of State declaring 2017 as the year of ‘harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in youth’.
According to the Department of Public Service and Administration, the local APSD is more significant as it coincides with Youth Month, which is commemorated in June, and provides South Africans with an opportunity to take stock of the strides made in addressing issues facing the youth.
Minister Mkhize said the South African Government is committed to improving access to quality services for all recipients, including citizens, business and the youth based on the Batho Pele principles.
“Our citizens expect nothing less than services that are delivered in a Batho Pele way in their entire experiences when interacting with government.
“They require and expect more transparent, accessible and responsive services at all times,” the Minister said.
Minister Mkhize said the citizen-centric service delivery is at the heart of the country’s transformative agenda for socio-economic development and youth empowerment.
Public Service and Administration Director General Mashwahle Diphofa said much has been done to improve service delivery in the public service.
“A lot has been done to improve service delivery. Quality services that we get today in the public service has improved,” he said.
Diphofa further said that work is being done to expose young people to the workplace.
“We not happy at the rate in which this is happening, we want our young people to get exposed to the workplace,” he said, adding that young people are needed for their innovation.
Also speaking was Elizabeth Thobejane from the Gauteng Premier’s Office who said Africa Public Service Day reflects on how best service delivery can be improved.
“South Africa contributes to creating a better African continent,” Thobejane said.
Tanzanian Minister of Monitoring and Politics and Diaspora Integrity, Rosemary Jairo, said public servants must be honest and truthful.
“As public servants, we need to have a high level of integrity,” she said.
Different government departments are showcasing their services, good practices and innovation through exhibitions at the event.
The event is attended by representatives from Malawi, Angola, Mauritius, Mali, Tanzania and Zambia.