Pretoria – Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi says for service delivery to be efficient and effective, there has to be a professional, accountable and development-oriented public service.
“Chapter 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa requires that the public service must, amongst others, maintain and promote a high standard of professional ethics and be accountable,” Minister Muthambi said.
Speaking at the National Labour Relations Forum held in Durban on Wednesday, Minister Muthambi said all public servants must conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner when executing their responsibilities.
“The public service must be professional, transparent, accountable, responsible and developmental.
“I am clear that for us to succeed we require professional, effectively coordinated and well managed state institutions with highly skilled public servants who are committed to serving our people,” Minister Muthambi said.
Minister Muthambi said government invests a lot of money and time developing individuals to be good managers and skilled administrators but little time or effort is placed instilling the culture of service.
“Our departments are still plagued by high levels of ethical and integrity issues, maladministration, fraud and corruption continue to be the scourge towards developing a professionalised public sector, thus contributing to poor levels of service delivery,” the Minister said.
She said what is most worrying is the sheer ignorance of some officials in the employment, especially those responsible to manage and maintain labour peace within their departments.
“We fail to understand that the employment relationship cannot be fixed through an arbitration award. The employment relationship is only eroded further when we adopt the posture that we will ask the ‘Courts’ to decide,” Minister Muthambi said.
She commended public servants who on a daily basis display professional, ethical values and behaviour which reflects the values and principles enshrined in section 195(1) of the Constitution to create the ideal public service as envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP).
“Without dedicated and professional public servants, the image of the public service and service delivery will be impacted in a negative way.
“As government we have committed to working together with organised labour in order to build a harmonious working relationship as this benefits service delivery to our citizens. We have undertaken to engage with organised labour in good faith and in cases where we reach agreements through structures such as the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), we shall honour those agreements,” the Minister said.
Minister Muthambi said there is a need for government to work with the various stakeholders to ensure that there is stability in the public service.
“We need to work for a productive and stable public service. As government, we have to collaborate with our labour partners and ensure that the public service machinery functions with the ultimate goal of delivering efficient services to the people. We will ensure that all stakeholders in the public service work with government to ensure that the public service machinery is functioning well,” the Minister said.
She said a well-functioning public service machinery will ensure government succeeds in addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
She said the NDP asserts that the public service is central to government achieving its objective of improving the lives of people.
“We cannot address the principles of radical economic transformation and we cannot find the missing middle class if the public service is not delivering efficient services to our people,” the Minister said.