Address by Hon Premier DD Mabuza at the 2012 Premier’s Service Excellence and Youth Awards

08 March 2012

Emalahleni Local Municipality Conference Centre

Programme Director,
Members of the Executive Council and Members of the Provincial Legislature
Executive Mayor of the Emalahleni Local Municipality,
Executive Mayors and Councillors,
Representatives of the House of Traditional Leaders,
Director-General, Mr. Jacob Rabodila,
Heads of Departments,
The Office of the Public Service Commission,
CEO of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Mr. Steven Ngobeni, and the entire NYDA leadership,
Representatives of our partners, Standard Bank and GIZ
Adjudicators of the Premier's Service Excellence and Youth Awards
Nominees and recipients of the Premier's Service Excellence and Youth Awards,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am privileged and honoured to be part of this important occasion which recognises and pays tribute to teams and individuals who have demonstrated commitment, passion and excellence in the execution of their duties.

We are once again afforded an opportunity to celebrate and thank many among us for their dedication and selfless efforts in delivering a better life for our people.

We are celebrating and honouring the contribution of young people to initiatives that promote self-empowerment through education, entrepreneurship, sport, and community development in general.

Programme Director, allow me to take this time to congratulate all the Premier’s Service Excellence and Youth Awards finalists for their outstanding performance in various initiatives that are intended to enhance and uplift the quality of life of citizens in the Province.

Each one of you is a winner. What counts is not the ultimate price, but the impact of your self-less contribution to the betterment of society as a whole.

Over the years, the ANC-led government has always committed itself to creating a caring and development-oriented public service that is accountable, results-driven, efficient, and responsive to the needs and aspirations of communities.

For us, Batho Pele embodies a set of values that defines government’s commitment to service excellence, hard work, care and respect for people at every point of interaction with government. As government, we have an obligation:

  • to strive for a high standard of professional ethics,
  • to inculcate a culture of transparency and accountability
  • to become responsive to the needs of the citizens
  • to ensure the provision of services impartially, fairly and equitably
  • to utilise resources efficiently, economically and effectively, and
  • to encourage the public to participate in policy-making and service delivery

As government, we will continue to ensure that frontline service delivery institutions are continuously transformed to improve the quality of service delivery and ensure that government interaction with citizens is pleasant.

In collaboration with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, government will be paying particular attention to evaluating the performance of frontline service delivery institutions such as clinics, hospitals, pension pay points, home affairs, police stations and municipal service points. 

The main focus is to improve access, queue management, turnaround times, and customer service levels in any given institution. Where there are shortcomings, improvement plans will be implemented to turn the situation around.

As highlighted in the State of the Province Address, the Province will, this year, be putting a lot of emphasis on the quality of service delivery in our health facilities. We want to make sure that more work is done to ensure that all our health facilities comply with the national core quality standards and six priority areas of performance. These include standards such as patient rights, patient safety, facilities and infrastructure leadership and governance etc.

In terms of six priority areas, we need to ensure that our facilities comply in key performance measures such as cleanliness, safety and security, waiting times, staff attitudes, infection control as well as drug supply. More importantly, our communities must experience excellent service in all our institutions.

We also want to eliminate red tape, create efficient service centres for business development, including support to cooperatives and emerging businesses.  

We need to improve our back-office processes in supply chain management to ensure that businesses are paid within 30 days.

For us, Batho Pele, as a value system, should permeate every aspect of government operation and interaction with citizens and external stakeholders, including service providers.

Programme Director, today’s occasion also gives us an opportunity to bestow accolades and pay tribute to youth organizations and individuals who have excelled in areas of youth empowerment and community development in general.

The recognition of excellence by the youth in areas of entrepreneurship, education, volunteering, culture, sport and the arts gives hope and inspiration to thousands of other young people to realise that the future is in their hands. With dedication and hard work, all dreams are possible.

Education remains an important vehicle for our youth to dream of future possibilities of self-advancement and success. Let me take this time to congratulate the award nominees who have demonstrated commitment and excellence in the area of education. Despite limitations of disadvantage, some of our youth have broken down the barriers to imagine and pave a way for a better future. 

Programme Director, as honour to the youth contribution today, we should not lose sight of the fact that youth unemployment remains alarmingly high. We are concerned about the growing number of unemployed young people swelling the streets of our townships and rural villages. We urgently need to address the challenge of unemployed out-school youth. 

This year, we will continue to put emphasis on skills training to equip young people with trade skills that lead to absorption into the labour market.We are making more resources available to MRTT to train more young people, as well as ensure accreditation and placement of these young people in the workplace. In this regard, we will also engage industries to work with government in ensuring skilled young people absorbed into employment opportunities.  

Through government programmes, such as the Comprehensive Rural Development and the National Youth Service Programmes, we will continue to train, mentor and support youth cooperatives so that these are linked to government procurement opportunities.

Among other opportunities, youth cooperatives will have opportunities to participate in the construction of houses, maintenance of buildings and government infrastructure, as well as participate in crop and livestock production. We will also be strengthening partnerships with the private sector to provide financial and mentorship support to youth cooperatives. 

Programme Director, today we pay tribute to all those young people who have stood up and done something to take advantage of opportunities available. Our future is not that of a welfare state, but a state founded on the core values of self-help, hard work, and self-less service to the betterment of society as a whole. I am happy that the youth award nominees exemplify those values.  They are an inspiration to others to do likewise.

In conclusion, allow me to thank our partners, Standard Bank, the NYDA and GIZ, for their contribution to making this occasion a success. Your support for the Premier’s Service Excellence and Youth Awards programme is highly appreciated.

I thank you


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