The public service is sometimes seen as a springboard to riches, rather than service.
This was the sentiment shared by KwaZulu-Natal provincial treasury MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube on Tuesday at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall during the department’s Heritage Month seminar.
Dube-Ncube said they decided to do things differently this Heritage Month by looking into what exactly the public service working culture entails and what it stands for.
She said more often than not, people join the public service under an assortment of pretexts; be it to better their lives, to create change, to make an impact or at worse, to enrich themselves.
“Now how do we prevent a culture where the public service is seen as a springboard to riches, rather than service?” she asked.
She said she believed that the culture of public service is when people go into public service because of a burning need to assist service communities and not for their personal needs, motivated by monetary gain.
Also, Dube-Ncube said the culture appears to have been slow in adapting and embracing trends of technological change.
She said a glaring example is the extensive use of paper, which continues to be a hallmark of inefficiency in public service, thus leading to adverse elements encroaching.
“However, I should point out that we, the people in the public service, are a melting pot of cultures that have transformed the public service to what it is today. Not all the actions have been detrimental to our progress and to the values we seek to espouse. Through rigorous policy directions we have been able to impact society with our culture of equality, women empowerment and service-focused programmes,” she said, adding that this is creating heritage.
Dube-Ncube added that the public service culture comes across as a rigid, alienating, hostile and a moribund one because of the red tape and bureaucracy inherently embedded in the system.
“By its very nature, bureaucracy is good and equally bad for efficiency. It can clog the arteries of service, but it can also save the organisation from encroaching foreign elements. It is a juggling act,” she said.