Shining example of public service

2013-11-24 14:00

Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu does not beat around the bush.

In a speech at the inaugural Annual Batho Pele Excellence Awards earlier this month, Sisulu made it clear that she knows South Africa’s public servants often get a bad rap.

“These awards happen at a time in our calendar where, with elections a few months away, that which seems to consume the public domain is that which we have not done right, and what consumes our people is frustration at delivery of services,” said Sisulu.

But she went on to explain that these awards were about celebrating those who were doing the job and doing it well in crucial sectors like health, education, “in our offices and out on the streets”. A good public service, she acknowledged, is a crucial building block in a growing democracy.

So public servants like Dr Kelly Gate – who took home the biggest prize on the night and could, if he wasn’t so modest, now rightfully describe himself as South Africa’s best civil servant – must be hailed and admired.

Gate, for instance, works with a team of 15 doctors at Bethesda Hospital in rural KwaZulu-Natal looking out for the health and wellbeing of 110?000 people. He and his team run seven clinics in the area and also do home visits as needed.

He’s uncomfortable talking about his award, saying it belongs to his entire team. They, and he, are shining examples of what our civil service can and must be. We commend them.

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