Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has commended all government essential service workers for their dedication and commitment in providing services to the people during the lockdown.
Mchunu said government is aware that the lockdown has caused great disruption to lives, to the economy and to the efficient and effective delivery of public services to citizens.
“We are going through one of the most difficult periods in the history of humankind. We are learning a lot through this process and we are taking those lessons to the future,” Mchunu said.
Speaking at the launch of Africa Public Service Day in Pretoria on Tuesday, Mchunu said the nationwide lockdown is necessary to save lives.
This year’s Africa Public Service Day is celebrated under the theme, ‘The Role of Public Administration in Building and Sustaining Peaceful Co-existence among Communities’.
“To minimise the effect of this disruption on the delivery of essential public services, the DPSA [Department of Public Service and Administration] has provided government departments with a guide on what should be viewed as critical and essential services during the nationwide lockdown.
“These services are being delivered to our citizens by a cohort of essential public service workers at great risk to themselves and their immediate families,” Mchunu said.
This year’s Africa Public Service Day celebration is being used to affirm the importance of quality service delivery to communities, even during the pandemic.
“Delivering quality services in a sustained manner is what the public administration is all about - whether it is the delivery of basic services to households at a municipal level, the delivery of face-value documents such as birth certificates and passports to citizens or delivering quality basic education to our children,” Mchunu said.
Africa Public Service Day aims to promote public sector innovations, reward excellence in the public sector, motivate public servants to promote innovation, enhance professionalism in the public service, raise the image of Public Service, enhance trust in government and encourage the sharing of best practices for possible replication within a country as well as across the African continent.
Mchunu said in celebrating the continuous and sustained delivery of quality services to citizens, government must recognise the hard work and commitment of all those public sector officials at the frontline of service delivery who, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, report to their respective work stations to deliver essential goods and services to the people.
Mchunu commended all government essential workers, who are heeding the call to stop the spread of Coronavirus, while providing uninterrupted essential services to the people.
“We salute these officials for their dedication and service to the nation. As a caring and consultative government, we continuously engage with officials working in the public administration system through various structures, including their labour union bodies, and we have heard their concerns and calls for more support in the containment and management of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Minister said.
Africa Public Service Day is an event entrenched in the African Union calendar. It originates from the conference of African Ministers for Public or Civil Service held in Tangier, Morocco, in 1994.
It was agreed at the conference that 23 June should be celebrated annually as Africa Public Service Day to recognise the value and virtue of service to the community.