“We must apologise to our clients as civil servants as that will not stop us from receiving our salaries!!” said Lulama Adons

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“We must apologise to our clients as civil servants as that will not stop us from receiving our salaries” said Lulama Adons, Service Delivery Improvement plan co-ordinator at the Office of the Premier. “Apologise even if it is the client that is wrong”

Adons reflected on these words as the department launched its first ever Batho Pele forum which is set to deepen the understanding and implementation of the application of the Batho Pele (BP) Principles internally. Regional managers and programme managers nominated Batho Pele co-ordinators who will serve in this structure.

In outlining expectations, roles and responsibilities for the Batho Pele co-ordinators Adons stressed that “If you are not excited after this presentation then you are in the wrong space “She highlighted the importance of the Batho Pele slogan “we care, we belong and we serve”.

The presentations outlined the roles and responsibilities of the BP co-ordinators so as to encourage responsiveness and accountability, ensure that people get access on the services they want, promote people centric approach (Putting people first) and to get value for money on services delivered, improve awareness on the understanding of BP as the program to transform service delivery, introduce some of the critical flagship programs that require attention of the BP team.
Lulama explained the principles established to improve Service Delivery as
• Citizens need to be consulted on services they want.
• Commitment is key when delivering services.
• All services to be accessible at all times.
• Citizens should be treated with dignity at all times.
• We need to be apologetic when a mistake was made during delivering of services.
• Information needed by the citizens should be available at all times.
• We should be transparent and open when delivering services.
• We should maintain value for money when delivering services.
The newly appointed BP department ,Sisanda George, had this to say “Now that the department has finally appointed the BP co-ordinators at Head Office and in all regions, BP implementation and co-ordination will be more efficient. “He further explained that this will lead to greater and more efficient and improved customer service in the department.

Mzi Dingwayo who welcomed appointed Batho Pele co-ordinators on behalf of Chief Director Corporate Services, among other things said, “A written submission of your training needs must be submitted to ensure that members are better skilled to handle the task ahead.

Part of the presentations included the successes and challenges faced by the Communication Services Unit in implementing the Batho Pele in the department,the approved department customer care policy and terms of reference.

The terms of reference for the Batho Pele forum is for it to sit quarterly on a rotational basis. Batho Pele co-ordinators are expected to keep a Batho Pele checklist and facilitate that all issues on the Batho Pele checklist are ticked. Co-ordinators have to submit written reports approved by regional managers and programme managers

In her closing remarks, Vuyokazi Mbanjwa, Senior Manager Communication Services Unit, responsible for the implementation of the Batho Pele in the department, thanked the presence and input of the OTP, the presence of regions and programmes however she stressed the importance of her unit managing the forum very well “ We must not lose the ball, otherwise regions and programmes will not see value in coming to the forum meetings if we do not adhere to the terms of reference agreed here.
“Together We Care, We Serve, We Belong”
By Luvo Sandlana