Ramaphosa: Most public servants carry out their duties faithfully


Over time, our country’s officials have come into the limelight for the wrong reasons.

We have become too accustomed to stories of public officials involved in maladministration, embezzlement, corruption and other forms of conduct that betray the values ​​of public service.

While much is said about those who are errant and unprincipled, the vast majority of public servants understand the weight of responsibility that their position entails and carry out their duties faithfully.

We have taken on the challenge of building a capable and ethical state. We remain resolutely on the path to the professionalization of the public service and its transformation into a group of capable and committed men and women in the service of our citizens and their interests.

During this Public Service Month, we honor the many public servants who continue to make a positive difference in our country every day, and whose actions and performance embody the principle of Batho Pelé, to “put people first”.

Our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that we have knowledgeable and committed public servants who diligently serve the people of South Africa.

Since the start of the pandemic, officials have shown courage and resilience in carrying out their duties, often under the most difficult circumstances. Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, they kept the wheels of our country spinning and ensured that service delivery continued.

Front-line health workers ensured that the sick were treated. SAPS members continued to serve and protect our communities. The teachers continued to care for and educate our learners. Officials in government offices have ensured that our people continue to receive service.

We have learned many lessons from the pandemic. Covid-19 has exposed the chasms between the planning and execution of public service delivery; and the reality of ministries still working in silos when they should work together in a transparent and development-oriented manner. At the same time, Covid-19 has shown us what is possible if we work in a coordinated manner and manage resources effectively and efficiently.

At the launch of Public Service Month last year, I made specific reference to the need for a new integrated service delivery model that is responsive, adaptive and brings development where it is most needed.

This adaptive service delivery model, or district development model, is exactly what the Batho Pele white paper requires us to do: establish a citizen-centered public service that is homogeneous, adaptive and responsive.

We call on public servants to be part of this process by identifying the means by which we can achieve a public service focused on meeting the needs and promoting the interests of citizens.

Our commitment to building an ethical, capable and above all developmental state requires that civil servants see themselves not only as civil servants, but as agents of development.

While we must seriously pursue our task of rooting out those whose conduct renders them unsuitable for public service, we must at the same time recognize that the vast majority are exemplary public servants. They allowed us to continue.

We are talking here about the grandmother who is assisted when she receives her scholarship every month; the seriously ill patient of the public hospital who is treated by medical staff; the social worker who helps keep families together; the vulnerable woman who is treated with dignity by a member of the South African Police Service; and the businessman who receives his documentation at the home affairs office in time to travel to develop his business.

The professionalism of these hardworking, ethical and principled public servants keeps our country afloat, and their good work brings hope to our people.

At a time when the gaps in the civil service are magnified and bad news falls like an avalanche, we salute our South African civil servants and their service.

You could say that they only do what they are paid for. But public service is a vocation – a vocation to which they have responded competently so that the rights of all in this country are respected.

We are grateful to all of our public servants and for everything they do.


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