"2013 is the year of building a clean government, accountable to the people"
To serve one's country is the greatest one can expect. This privilege falls squarely on those in the public service. It is a responsibility that we embrace not grudgingly but enthusiastically. After 18 years of democratic government, our people's patience with shoddy service is wearing thin. But they have not given up. The widespread protests are an expression of frustration in as much as they are indicative of their faith in government. In most cases, government is their only salvation.
As we celebrate our achievements for the year 2012, I want to thank all public servants for their hard work in 2012. We had quite a remarkable year, culminating in a multi-year wage agreement, endorsed by all public sector unions and peacefully supported by all public servants.
I would like to single out three government departments who made huge strides towards our goal in ensuring access to and services for all our people.
The Department of Home Affairs, under the leadership of Minister N Dlamini Zuma who is now that chairperson of the African Union managed to change from the Department of Horror Affairs, as a Member of Parliament referred to it, to the Department of Home Affairs which citizens are proud of. Public comments confirmed that the citizens of South Africa have confidence in the Department of Home Affairs.
The Department of Health was recognised by the United Nations for significantly reducing incidents of HIV in South Africa.
The Department of Defence achieved its first clean audit since 1990, in the 2011/ 2012 financial year. It is the commitment of the staff of the Department that made this possible and I am particularly grateful that I can lay claim to such an achievement in my time. The staff of the Department of Defence made me proud. This lays a basic, fundamental requirement that all Accounting Officers should have clean audits. If the Department of Defence can do it, all government departments should have clean audits.
We need to take time to reflect on what the public service has achieved since 1994 as we prepare to celebrate 20 years of democracy and our service to the people. As we review these 20 years of service delivery we must commit ourselves to building a new efficient, effective public service accountable to the people.
For these and all the other achievements by hardworking public servants, I am thankful. As we celebrate the gains of 2012 and the progress we have in the past 18 years, let us prepare ourselves to build a new public service, accountable to the people and committed to high productivity and fast tracked delivery.
The beginning of the year (2013) presents an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to provide excellent service, to continue the fight against fraud and corruption and all illicit conduct that not only robs the poor but also postpones the realisation of a better life for all. Let 2013 be a year in which an effective, efficient, accountable, and responsive government become a reality.
May you enjoy the festive season, rest and come back in 2013 ready to take the public service to higher productivity.
Issued by: Department of Public Service and Administration