Public service charter: ‘make it real’

12 September 2013

Parliament has called on the government and labour to ensure that the recently launched Public Service Charter is fully implemented, and that South Africans are empowered to know their rights and report bad service.

During a briefing by Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in Cape Town on Wednesday, members of the portfolio committee on public service and administration urged the minister, along with public service unions, to ensure that the charter’s vision became a reality.

“We are all aware of the challenges facing our people,” said the acting chairperson of the committee, Eric Nyekembe. “We hope this charter will introduce a chapter where government and labour will work together to improve service delivery.

“This charter must empower our people to report and complain when they are faced with bad service.”

The charter, which all public servants will be expected to sign, seeks to ensure an effective, efficient and responsive public service by committing public servants to:

  • Serve the public in an unbiased, impartial manner;
  • Provide timely services;
  • Respect and protect each person’s dignity and rights as contained in the Constitution;
  • Not engage in any action or transaction that conflicts with or infringes on the execution of their duties;
  • Act against fraud, corruption, nepotism and maladministration; and
  • Demonstrate professionalism, competency and transparency in the performance of their duties.

A Batho Pele call center number – 0860 428 392 – has been launched to get public feedback on the implementation of the charter.

Last month, all trade unions represented in the Public Service Coordination Bargaining Council signed the charter and committed to take the lead in its implementation.

On Wednesday, Sisulu said the charter would be internalised in government so that all officials came to know and understand the expectations of the people.

“During the drafting of the charter, we asked our people to comment and give suggestions on how we can improve service delivery, and they said public servants must be on time and work daily to resolve their problems. That’s all they are asking for – a public service that meets their expectations.”

She said the charter was binding to all public servants, including those in local government.

In her budget vote speech earlier this year, Sisulu told MPs that the service charter represented “a social contract between ourselves, public sector unions and citizens – the main beneficiaries of services delivered by the state”.

During last month’s launch of the charter, Sisulu committed the government to creating the working conditions that would enable public servants to meet the requirements of the charter.

SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter