Gauteng Finance MEC Mr Mandla Nkomfe rolled up his sleeves today and cleaned, prepared food and sang and danced with kids at the Gugulethu Centre, a shelter for abused and abandoned children of up to 12 years old in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni.
The MEC's visit to the centre was part of departmental activities aimed at celebrating former President Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday, by encouraging employees to dedicate at least 67 minutes of their time supporting local charities and places of safety in line with the spirit of Mandela Day.
"As we celebrate Madiba's 94th birthday, let's all join together in saying cheers to a life lived to the fullest, even though, at times that happened under trying circumstances. To our son of the soil, we wish you strength and good health; may you continue to see many more years to come," the MEC Nkomfe said.
"We thank Madiba for being the person that he is. Thank you Madiba for a lifetime spent serving the people of this country and abroad. Thank you for the wisdom and for teaching us we only need to be humble and open minded to be the best that we can be," he added paying tribute to the work done by the elder statesman.
In addition to groceries, MEC Nkomfe presented the Gugulethu Centre with clothing, blankets and toys. He thanked the founder of the centre Mrs. Andrie Louw and her staff for providing children with an environment that allows them to be normal kids again playful, carefree and inquisitive.
"This is what Madiba wants for our children. He knows that these are the developmental milestones that are crucial to grooming our future leaders, doctors, economists, scientists and engineers," he said.
The Gauteng Department of Finance and Gauteng Provincial Treasury are in the process of developing Corporate Social Investment Programmes. These initiatives will provide a framework within which relations between the two departments and community based organisations including the Gugulethu Centre will be managed.
"Since its establishment in 2008, this shelter has done remarkable and sterling work to help the most vulnerable members of our society - children. This place has provided them with the safety and warmth of a normal home that they could only dream about because of their unfortunate circumstances," MEC Nkomfe explained.
"We are very happy that the MEC visited us today, and most importantly that he said this is the beginning of a long term relationship between us and the departments that he is leading," Louw said.
"It is important that people from government departments that we work with visit the centre regularly to see how it operates. This will enable them to understand the nature of our work and what we need for us to function effectively," she added.
Linking Madiba's contribution to South Africa, Africa and the world with improved service delivery, MEC Nkomfe said efforts must be doubled to ensure that public servants serve the people. "We must work with passion, dedication and a selfless, caring attitude".
He called on public servants to be diligent when doing their work at all times, noting that for every document approved, for every telephone enquiry resolved and every payment made; they have facilitated delivery of public service affecting millions of people and made their life a little-bit better.
This is the kind of "public servant" that Madiba symbolises and has always advised us to demonstrate as we go about our daily duties. "To put it simply, it is a call to action that each of us must know our role in society and take responsibility to make our communities a little better, one small step at the time, just like he did in his long years of serving the people," Nkomfe said.