The Not so Serving Public Servants

2015-05-19 17:40

The public service and administration caretaker / acting minister, Nathi Mthethwa issued a stern warning to “Public Servants” saying maladministration and inefficiency were holding government programmes back. He further went on and said “Public Servants should see themselves as “servants of the public and not that the public is your servant”. It is of this reason that I will make an example with the problems that we have in my village in the Eastern Cape.

Being a bona fide of uMhlanga Village situated between Lady Frere and Dordrecht, we still experience unsatisfactory services from our own government.

Mhlanga is one of the villages that have been grossly neglected when it comes to development despite numerous attempts by the villagers in raising their concerns with the respective municipalities / government departments.

The people of this village even went as far as forming a Non-Profit Organisation by the name of Mhlanga Development Forum, mainly led by the youth in trying to engage and resolve issues that are meant to be attended to by public servants but also being mindful of the fact that seating on their laurels will not bring anything and that what is needed is to stand up and take action to see development happening in this and surrounding villages.

At the beginning of this year the MDF Special Projects Officer wrote a letter to Emalahleni Local Municipality regarding the abominable condition of the main road in the village and also the rest of the internal road network. It was ensured that the email was sent to as many people as possible within this municipality hoping that at least one of them would make time and respond to the concerns raised in letters contained in those emails. At some point there was response from the mayor informing the writer that the main road in this village is not theirs but belongs to Public Works. No one bothered to respond about the second letter addressing concerns about the internal road network in this village and other issues and about other letters that were sent to them.

The same letter was subsequently sent to the Department of Public Works and the last correspondence from them was at the end of January commissioning an assessment of this main road. No one can confirm whether this assessment did infact take place or not because no report / feedback was received and numerous attempts were made to get the department to respond to no avail.

The real situation is that when its raining learners cannot go to school because of the heavily flow water in the riverbends. I think it was about five years back when we lost three souls of young women from the same house who were trying crossing but the water overpowered them. Not even a single bridge was constructed after that horrible scene, even today the situation is the same.

The main concern here is if those that are meant to serve the public do not even bother to respond to simple emails / letters, what alternative does the public then have? We have seen strikes, school closures, destruction of existing infrastructure, road closures which if one applies their mind is caused by the same public servants in failing to address important community issues. Destruction of existing infrastructure cannot be condoned and so is preventing learners from going to schools but the attitude that one gets from those that are supposed to serve is one of the major factors that lead to these.

One should know that when they are on the payroll of the public purse they are there to serve the public.

A simple road network in a village, if done properly, can unlock a lot of economic activities, starting from short to long term employment, new businesses, increased foot count etc. It could even unlock a lot of recreational activities merely because of the ease of accessing a village.

“IF THOSE THAT ARE MEANT TO SERVE EXERCISE IGNORANCE WHAT IS THE PUBLIC THEN LEFT TO DO? TAXES ARE PAID EVERY MONTH AND BUDGET ALLOCATIONS ARE DONE ANNUALLY BUT THE RATE AT WHICH SERVICES ARE BEING PROVIDED DOE NOT SPEAK TO THIS ESPECIALLY IN RURAL AREAS / VILLAGES”

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