Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu says the public service plays a fundamental role in the governance of every country.
“Without a strong public service comprising ethical, professional public servants, there can be no efficient public service delivery that accounts fully for itself, to be in the hearts of the people and fulfil the political commitment,” Mchunu said.
Addressing virtually the weeklong 8th Africa Public Service Day (APSD) continental celebrations that kick-started on Monday in Harare, Zimbabwe, Mchunu said the former models of public administration under colonialism failed to recognise the way of life of the people.
Mchunu said instead, foreign policies and ideals were imposed upon the colonised, stripping them of any voice or power.
“The manner in which governance was exercised was to the benefit of a select few, completely ignoring the needs of the majority,” Mchunu said.
Mchunu said to safeguard Africa’s growth and facilitate opportunities for the next generation, the public service is set to ensure that initiatives, programmes and policies harness the potential of the world’s youngest population and prioritise issues such as the continent’s widening inequalities and lack of prospects.
Mchunu encouraged young people to consider a career in public service as an attractive option.
He said good administration goes hand in hand with flourishing economic development.
“When we fought for the liberation of our respective countries, it was to better the lives of the citizens, to improve the socio-economic inequalities which existed, racial classifications and to advance the interests of all in a uniform manner,” the Minister said.
Mchunu said strengthening public services in Africa is critical.
“The 21st century poses new and multiple challenges to public services, including an increased number of poor people, widening inequality, jobless economic growth, multi-dimensional security threats, persistent food insecurity, the irreversible impact of climate change and the use of technology.”
The annual APSD programme is being observed in various countries from 21 - 25 June 2021, consisting of various activities, with the three-day continental celebration being the kick-off event.
Mchunu is participating in the continental conference with other Ministers from 55 African Union Member States responsible for Labour, Public and Civil Service.
This year’s celebrations are being held under the theme, ‘Building the Africa we want through embracing an ethical culture that underpins purpose driven leadership in the context of a crisis’.
Among the issues on discussion is the state of public service on the continent, issues of governance, best practices and innovative ways on how to improve the effectiveness of the public service amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Locally, the programme commenced today with a virtual exhibition of public service innovations by public servants that were unearthed in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last event of the week will be a Master Class webinar, hosted by The National School of Government, where African public servants will be afforded an opportunity to critically reflect on their work and present urgent steps required to improve the effectiveness of the public service.
At this webinar, Mchunu will deliver a closing address to the weeklong programme. – SAnews.gov.za