Public sector aims higher

2016-04-13 06:00
REPRESENTATIVES of stakeholders who attended the 14th annual Centre for Public Sector Innovation (CPSI) awards in Bloemfontein on Thursday, 7 April, are from the left Aubrey Josial (Free State premier’s office), Thuli Radebe (executive director, CPSI), Kopung Ralikontsane (director general in the office of the Free State premier), Tshepiso Ramakarane (municipal manager, Setso Local Municipality) and Lydia Phalwane (chief director, CPSI). Photo: Teboho Setena

REPRESENTATIVES of stakeholders who attended the 14th annual Centre for Public Sector Innovation (CPSI) awards in Bloemfontein on Thursday, 7 April, are from the left Aubrey Josial (Free State premier’s office), Thuli Radebe (executive director, CPSI), Kopung Ralikontsane (director general in the office of the Free State premier), Tshepiso Ramakarane (municipal manager, Setso Local Municipality) and Lydia Phalwane (chief director, CPSI). Photo: Teboho Setena

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THE various public sector departments’ commitment to embracing innovation to entrench sustainable change will be measured through recognition given with the annual Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) awards.

The CPSI is a government component within the Ministry for Public Service and Administration, established to entrench and nurture the culture of innovation in the public sector nationally.

The 2016 edition of the CPSI awards was launched in Bloemfontein on Thursday, 7 April, with the Free State government as the host. The awards programme has been running for five years to recognise the best-performing public sector departments.

This year the participating departments will be recognised in four categories:

  • innovative solutions reducing the cost of delivering services;
  • the innovative use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) for effective service delivery;
  • innovative service delivery institutions (i.e. schools, hospitals, clinics, courts, police stations); and
  • innovative enhancements of internal systems of government.

Thuli Radebe, executive director of the CPSI nationally, said through the awards the public sector lived up to expectations to play a lead role in poverty eradication, employment creation and economic development. There is a call for sectors to be creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial while delivering on their mandates.

Addressing public sector representatives, Radebe stressed that the awards programme was fundamental in enabling South Africa as a member state of the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) to achieve the AU’s agenda 2063 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“Organs such as the AU and the UN have both issued instructions that each member state should have an innovation programme to support its reform and transformation programmes,” said Radebe.

“They have included articles that implore countries to implement their public sector innovation programmes. It is clear that South Africa cannot achieve the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals without embracing public sector innovation.”

While the public sector has made significant strides in embracing creativity and innovation, Radebe raised grave concerns about the apparent lack of understanding among public sector employees regarding the significance of the innovation concept.

“There are still people today who do not understand the strategic relevance and importance of innovation in the public sector.”

Radebe said the Free State had produced some great finalist projects over the years, such as the Street Children’s Database, a finalist in 2009; EMIS On-line, a category winner in 2009; Beds of Hope, a finalist in 2010; the Adverse Incident Management System in 2012; and the e-Pharmacy Management System in 2012.

According to Radebe, the heritage and culture centre of the Basotho Cultural Village stands out as a historic innovation project. The centre preserving the history of the Basotho is located a few kilometres outside Qwaqwa.

Kopung Ralikontsane (director general in the office of the Free State premier), said Free State participation would help unearth new talent and develop ideas, as well as put the province in the mainstream as a creative and innovative front runner. He said he was hopeful that innovative projects would be discovered.

“We have a number of projects improving service delivery and this year I hope to have more projects entering. Operation Hlasela is one methodology that has an integrated approach in the delivery of service,” said Ralikontsane.

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