Social Development Long Service Awards - 24 August 2017

Programme Director
Councilor Shushu
Councilor Meintjies
Director General, Mr Justice Bekebeke
Head of Department, Ms. Hendrina Samson
Our Distinguished guests from National and Provincial Departments
Departmental Officials
Our honored guests, the recipients
Ladies and gentlemen

It is indeed an honor and privilege to host the hallmark event where the department pauses to give due recognition to the stalwarts, the lifeblood of this department who have served the Provincial Government, and the people of this beautiful province with loyalty and distinction.
Quite often we lack the very basic attributes that make us human, just to say thank you when a person has done something for you. I am therefore exited and also grateful to the Department under the leadership of Ms. Samson and the team that not only initiated the Long Service Awards, but also brought it to fruition.
Tonight is all about you, the recipients of the various awards. With this event we want to show that indeed the self-worth of each and every employee of the Social Development Family is recognized and appreciated. When I say Family I surely mean family in the very essence of its meaning. It is here where we spend most of our time and it is in this Department where we built one another, heal one another and strengthen one another.
And yes like with family, we at times are at loggerheads with one another, but we foundations on which this Social Development Family is built upon remains steadfast and strong. The Department has a heartbeat precisely because you gave everything, body and soul, and at times under difficult conditions, to make the Department a leading Department in terms of delivery and accountability.
And for that we cannot thank you enough because loyalty and reliability have become precious attributes we cannot do without in the strive to obtain our department’s vision and mission and get the important tasks Social Development has to do, done
We are here today to celebrate the life of pioneers, pathfinders, people who have been there before us, to show the path and lead the way. It is your knowledge that plays an active part in this country’s past and future history so that your children and their children will be grateful that you have made a significant difference in the lives of those who are most vulnerable.
And at this point I wish for us to take note and truly appreciate when God says in Colossians 3 verse 23 “Honest hard work- this is something God seeks from all of us. God's words tell us that working hard, but with faith in mind, can lead to the great things he has planned for us.
A difficult task lies ahead for us. With the recent release of statistics on Poverty Trends in South Africa it was disheartening to read that more than half of our people live in poverty. Fifty Nine percent to be precise. But ladies and gentlemen, it is an improved situation from seventy four percent in 2006 which shows that we are a Department and a Government hard at work serving our people.
It also requires of us to do introspection and ask how we as the individual and collective make a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of those in need. We therefore cannot continue to do things as we have done them before. We will continue have to come up with more practical ways of dispensing of our Constitutional mandate. We have to find innovative ways to do more with the little that we have. And a saying comes to mind when we met with young ladies a few days ago when one young lady reminded us that we constantly have to innovate or else we will evaporate. And this is the message I want to bring across- that you must come up with ideas and not be afraid to present and promote them.

But tonight is also is about taking time out, as a department, to attend to the very critical matter of wellness. It should always be borne in mind that it only a healthy, physically active and mentally fit workforce that can advance the mandate of this Agency with vigour.

It is an engaged, involved, inclusive team that works collaboratively in the department which can ensure that we serve the people of the Northern Cape with dedication, commitment, humility and loyalty.

It is also an “up-to-the-task” workforce, in all respects, that can deliver the radical socio-economic transformation programme government is implementing.
Our dedicated public employees are committed to a cause greater than personal ambition, and each day, they tackle many of our most urgent challenges and help move us closer to a more perfect service delivery orientated public service. We gather here tonight united as public servants by a common pledge to serve and protect the rights and dignity of the people we serve.

Among us are members of staff who have worked and dedicated themselves in the service of the public for a long period of time. In This ceremony, fifty five employees who have completed 10 years continuous service, four for twenty years, nine for thirty years and one for Forty years – will receive certificates. Congratulation to you all!

We pay tribute to all of you who are receiving long service awards for a job well-done.

We also have the pleasure to have amongst us seven officials who have run their race, and they have run it well that reached the age of retirement. We thank you for the sacrifices and dedication. Now is your time to rest and we pray that God grant you good health and a long happy prosperous life.

As public servants, your work for the people is notable as we transform our country towards becoming a truly “democratic, united, non-racial, non-sexist, equal and prosperous” nation.

I specifically want to single out the Care Givers who work at our Institutions who have become parents, role models and heroes to young people in need of care and protection. It is not an easy task to take care of children not borne or fathered by you, but you do it because the calling is so much greater than your personal needs. Now more than ever, these caregivers need our support, encouragement and appreciation for their dedication to making a difference for others.

Ladies and gentlemen, the current government has always highlighted skills and human resources as one of its strategic priorities. This underpins our commitment to empowering public servants through continuous training and education, so you can better contribute towards eradicating poverty, unemployment and inequality – the triple challenge our country faces.

It is our obligation to continue to invest in these skills development and training programmes to ensure that we create a sufficient pool for skills to meet our current and future needs – across all levels.

To achieve all our goals, we must hold ourselves to the highest standards of service, probity and integrity. Together we must build a society that prizes excellence and rewards effort, which shuns laziness and incompetence. Therefore, to all those present here tonight, and for you to share with colleagues who could not attend- the enhanced service delivery to citizens depends upon a clean, accountable, efficient and effective administration and governance.

You must be concerned that corruption and maladministration continue to define government’s work, more than the great service delivery achievements we record in terms of our management of bringing social relief for the vulnerable and distressed.

We all present here tonight signed up for government service because we wanted to help people and make a difference. I know all of you feel the same way. This event and recognition should also serve as a strong reminder that working for the Department of Social Development is not just about getting a salary, but about the mission, true and honest conviction and that of making a lasting difference. 

It can at times be a very daunting task to serve our people. Just hold on to the belief that you are serving selflessly for the befit of those who need you the most. Take comfort and be guided by the word of Philippians 4:13- “I can do all this through him who gives me strength”.
My sincere appreciation to the Head of Department and all Executive and Senior Managers of the Department who continues to play a valuable part in ensuring an effective and smooth running Department. I have been in the public service long enough to know that your collective effectiveness, managers and lower level staff, can determine whether our Government succeeds and whether it meets its obligations to our people.
While the political appointees help determine which direction we go in, it is up to each and every official in the Department to actually get us there.
As current and future leaders in the public service, you set the tone for thousands of employees who look to you for guidance and inspiration. You are the key to whether our Government does justice to the mandate the people have entrusted to us, and that is a lofty responsibility.

For those already on pension or considering taking any soon, remember your communities require your experience. Volunteer to assist and promote community development through active participation. The skills you acquired and the experience you gained should stand in good stead as you interact with your community members.

In closing, I would like to once again thank you for your commitment to the Public Service as a whole and to the Department of Social Development.

Thank you for working so hard for us and for those who need our services. Your dedication is so meaningful and know that you are valued and appreciated. You are part of a family that will always appreciate your efforts and where you will always have a home.

Thank you

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257 Barkley Rd

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