Chikunga sets the bar for public servants

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga says public servants must strive to service citizens while upholding high professional and ethical standards. 

Chikunga said this when she addressed the Thusong Service Centres Indaba at the Grand West Casino in Cape Town on Tuesday. 

The indaba, Chikunga said, was part of Batho Pele principles, which means ‘putting people first’. Batho Pele principles are anchored on several values - consultation, service standards, access, courtesy, information, openness and transparency, redress and value for money.

Chikunga said public servants should at all times uphold these values when providing a service to citizens. 

“We want to see… a culture where our public servants are not only aware of these eight principles – they must live by them as part of their organisational ethos in their daily lives. 

“To say ‘I am a professional’, you are actually saying ‘I own a specialised knowledge’. You therefore are saying I am not like any other person who probably may not have specialised knowledge. 

“We want skilled and professional public servants of the highest moral standards and those that are dedicated to the public good. If we have such professionals in our country, we are not going to talk about corruption (sic),” she said. 

Chikunga said this as government celebrates the annual Thusong Service Centre week campaign, which is aimed at raising awareness about the integrated services that Thusong Service Centres offer. 

This year marks 20 years since the Thusong Centres were introduced by the democratic government in 1999 in order to give marginalised communities access and services closer to them, as well as information and opportunities that government offers. 

These centres play a crucial role in bringing government information and services closer to the South African citizenry, enabling them to make informed decisions that can improve their lives. 

Thusong Service Centres should give communities a voice 

Chikunga said, meanwhile, that the entire thrust behind the development of Thusong Service Centres should be to give marginalised communities access to information and services in a courteous, open and transparent manner. 

“These centres should be a platform for government to listen to our communities and also give them answers to their queries – especially about programmes and services that are aimed at improving their lives. 

“In our efforts against gender based violence, for example, it should be the Thusong Service Centres that give vulnerable women and children access to information... 

“These centres should also give them information on the services that are rendered by Thuthuzela Care Centres,” the Deputy Minister said. –