Breaking barriers in public service

Friday, July 6, 2018

About 120 young South Africans from across the country have graduated from the government led Breaking Barriers to Entry into the Public Service (BB2E).

The initiative, which is led by National School of Government (NSG), the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the European Union, is aimed at empowering unemployed graduates with the requisite knowledge and skills needed for employment in the public service.

The orientation programme is underpinned by the values and principles found in Chapter 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. This is done by orientating learners to the public service, how the public service is organised and the way the public service functions.

This programme is targeted at graduates with post-National Senior Certificate qualifications, as well as newly appointed interns in departments.

The EU invested about R4.4 million for this programme with the target to empower 1 440 identified unemployed young graduates across the country during the months of June and July - in line with the Youth Month commemorations.

One youth, who benefited from the initiative, is Nombulelo Mavimbela (23) from Sedibeng - an intern at the provincial department who said the programme has helped her better understand how the public service work.

“At first I was not aware what was really expected of me as a public servant but through this programme, I understand the values of Batho Pele. I have learned that in everything I do I need to put other people first and that I should be guided by service standards, courtesy, access, information, openness and transparency to give the citizens the best value,” Mavimbela told SAnews.

Addressing the new graduates, Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Chana Pilane-Majake, said the programme is an important foundation for breeding new public servants who will be able to make personal interventions to translate policy into action.

He said a public servant is self-motivated and ready to motivate others to serve the public; those who are responsive and capable of giving her/his best regardless of whether she/he is in the front office or at management level.

“A public servant does not use policy or resource constraints as an excuse for not doing work, but comes up with turnaround strategies to salvage a failing situation. A public servant is always committed, results-oriented and measures the impact of her/his actions against the public’s expectations.

“A public servant believes in partnership and considers the opinion of other colleagues, peers and the public, and is able to network with organs of civil society, community development workers and all other stakeholders. A public servant who is on board is one who owns the processes of service delivery and understands that blame for the failure of the system should be laid squarely on his/her shoulders.”

Pilane-Majake also called on the youth public servants to not only be innovative but also adopt Nelson Mandela’s values of integrity, passion, respect, service, transformation and transparency and to be the pillars of society.

According to the Deputy Minister, government is looking into expanding the programme to attract youth people with degrees who are unemployed in order to contribute to the Youth Employment Service (YES) which aims to see more than one million young South Africans being offered paid work experience over the next three years, as part of placing the needs of and opportunities for young people at the centre of inclusive economic growth.

European Union South African representative Arno Schaefer welcomed the fact that government used the funds to train the youth.

He said the BB2E is a flagship programme of the NSG aimed at preparing unemployed graduates to access employment opportunities in the public service and they are happy that EU can contribute to this.

Schaefer explained that the EU and NSG are currently in a five-year partnership that contributes to the National Development Plan, and the aim is to implement new and more effective ways of learning and teaching to bring substantial change in the South African public service.  –