Public servants urged to improve approach to service delivery

Monday, September 2, 2019

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has urged public servants to sharpen their approach when it comes to issues of service delivery and stop making commitments when there is no budget allocated for the projects. 

“Public servants [elected and unelected], must make sure that whenever there are commitments at a political level, they must have been thoroughly discussed with the administrative leadership and there are follow-ups by officials to ensure service delivery takes place during the period planned for and are within the budgeted amount,” Mchunu said.

The Minister was speaking at the launch of Integrated Government Wide Public Service Month (IGW-PSM) held recently in Polokwane, Limpopo. The launch sets-off a series of activities earmarked to celebrate in an integrated, coordinated and coherent way the annual Public Service Month Programme.

The launch of Public Service Month kick-starts the month-long activities by various government departments that will be rolled out across the country in all three spheres of government from 1 September to 4 October under the theme ‘Khawuleza: Taking Public Service to the People: We Belong, We Care, We Serve’. 

Mchunu said that the increasing expressions of dissatisfaction by citizens in the form of petitions and service-delivery protests are not only about service delivery, but “failure of public servants to remain accountable and responsive to the needs of the very people that they are meant to serve”.

He reiterated that public servants are expected to use public resources effectively and economically, and services rendered to citizens should be without discrimination.

“Innovation should be at the centre of service delivery to positively impact on the lives of all South Africans.

“It should be allowed to thrive within the public sector and that civil servants can no longer treat it as an ‘optional extra’, but must institutionalise it in order to deliver services better, faster and more efficiently,” the Minister said.

Municipal audit results disturbing

Responding to the outcomes of the municipal audit results for the 2018/19 financial year, released recently by the Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, Mchunu said although there are municipalities that consistently managed to achieve clean audit statuses, it is disturbing to note that there is an overall decline in audit results. 

“This places a serious need on us public servants to ensure that we assist this sphere of government, which is at the coalface of service delivery, to improve governance.  The fast-tracking of the promulgation of the Public Administration Management Act (PAMA) therefore becomes an urgent necessity,” the Minister said.

He called upon all civil servants to stand up and be counted so that they can be of service to the populace. 

“We are not expecting them to be active only around this month, but throughout the year, 24 hours and seven days. The Public Service Month serves as a reminder of what it means to serve communities and to also look at the impact the government has, especially around issues of service delivery.”

This year’s Public Service Month will focus on reviving the ethos of Batho Pele - the notion of Putting People First, and to re-orientate public servants back into the Service Charter - commitment that demands that they serve with integrity and professionalism, while visibly portraying a positive attitude. –