Durban – Public servants need to brace themselves for a tough year ahead and handle taxpayers' money responsibly, KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Belinda Scott warned on Monday.
"We are the ones who must say 'no' to unnecessary expenditure and corruption," she said in a statement.
"It is a difficult role to play. Even more given the global and national economic climate, and the spending pressures on key service delivery departments in this province."
She urged public servants to be "firm, but understanding and sympathetic", and asked them to put the public first.
Scott also addressed social ills facing the country, saying she was concerned about the alarming spate of racism and xenophobia, and the continued struggle for gender equality in the country and province.
The MEC also urged the public to use social media responsibly, saying social media was an easy way to "vent negative emotions, with little or no cognisance of the consequences".
"In the past few months we have witnessed this trend in the public pages of unscrupulous politicians and their scriptwriters and to a lesser extent within our daily environment. These negativities can only distract us from our core function," said Scott.