President Zuma pledges efficient public service

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma is putting the improved performance of the state, particularly the public service, at the core of how government conducts business over the next five years.

“We want government to deliver services faster and more efficiently. More importantly, we want members of the public seeking services to be treated with respect, patience, understanding and courtesy,” he said in the National Assembly on Friday. 

“The Batho Pele programme will thus be revitalised this term, accompanied by the promotion of the new Public Service Charter, under the leadership of the Public Service and Administration Department,” he said.

The President was replying to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate, which took place in Parliament on Wednesday and Thursday.

In the SONA he presented to Parliament earlier this week, President Zuma announced that government was targeting an economic growth of 5% by 2019.

“… We will do everything to move towards that goal. We need employment creating growth and we can achieve it with focus and determination,” he said today.

“We also intend to ensure that all levels of this administration treat complaints management as a priority issue, so that we can achieve the goal of being a government that is accessible and responsive to citizens”.

He announced that more than 190 000 citizens have logged complaints and queries through the Presidential Hotline that was introduced in 2009. 

This overwhelming response from citizens has been positive, and the Presidential Hotline has also contributed to government understanding how important it is to have well-functioning and responsive complaint systems, President Zuma said. 

To further improve performance and inculcate a culture of excellence, he said the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency will continue to conduct unannounced visits to service delivery sites in order to monitor things such as queue management and waiting times, dignified treatment, cleanliness and comfort. 

The focus will be on facilities where the public is directly served, such as Home Affairs offices, South African Social Security Agency offices, police stations, health facilities, drivers' licence centres, municipal customer care centres, schools and courts.

President Zuma also noted that while a lot of good work is being done by public servants, some improvements are needed.

“There is a need to enhance skills development in areas such as financial management. Shortcomings become glaring each time the Auditor-General releases his annual report.  

“We agree with Honourable Members that part of improving the performance of the state is to get government to pay small businesses and other suppliers promptly within 30 days.”

During the previous administration, the National Treasury and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation put in place a system to monitor the payment of suppliers within 30 days by national and provincial departments. 

There will now be more emphasis on assisting departments with large numbers of invoices that are paid late. This will draw on case studies of the best performing departments. –

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