15 September 2014
Today Monday 15 September marks the beginning of Thusong Service Centre Week. The week was launched by the Minister of Communications Ms Faith Muthambi at the Denlyn Mall in Mamelodi North of Pretoria yesterday (Sunday).
The campaign will run until Friday 19 September and it seeks to highlight communication of services offered at these centres across the country and how people can benefit from them. The campaign also falls under Public Service Month.
Guided by the month’s theme “Reinventing the way Public Service Works, Batho Pele” the Thusong Week’s activities will seek to deepen this focus as they will mainly concentrate on encouraging service providers within the Centre to promote the Batho Pele principles in the way they render services and conduct themselves.
Minister Muthambi was joined by officials of the City of Tshwane including the MMCs where the team engaged with the centre manager who demonstrated how the model of Mamelodi was unique.
Other activities during the launch included interaction with the local Aids Training Project who will form a partnership with the centre for public meetings on related topics.
Minister Muthambi said, “It’s our belief that given all the service delivery protests that we have seen in recent times there is a great need for all of us to do some introspection about how as a civil service we are at the service of our people.”
The day continued with a Mall Activation that took place at the Denlyn Mall where Minister and officials conducted a walk-about and introduced the services of Thusong Center to the people. During this session Minister heard from people from all walks of life; some of whom unemployed youth who had benefited from government’s training programmes.
“These centres are there to build the much needed bridges between the government and its people. Practically these centres do not just disseminate information for the sake of it but underline what we mean by development communications – communications that empowers our people,” said Muthambi.
Currently there are 183 Thusong Service Centres established in 107 Local Municipalities country wide, these are complemented by 114 integrated mobile routes taking government services to the far flung areas.
The following government services can be found at the centres; applications for identity documents, birth certificates, social grants, Unemployment Insurance Fund and municipal services that are provided by the departments such as Home Affairs, Labour and Justice, and Constitutional Development as well as the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
Some of the successes achieved by this initiave include:
• Thusong Service Centre Programme is one of the first unique initiatives implemented by the South African Democratic Government which integrates services across the three spheres (National, Provincial and Local government)
• 2014 marks the 15th year of the Programme’s existence.
• The Programme created access not only to government information and services but also enables communities to access opportunities offered by other civil society groups, such as Businesses, Non-governmental Organisations and Parastatals.
• Currently there are 183 Thusong Service Centres established in 107 Local Municipalities country wide, these are complemented by 114 integrated mobile routes taking government services to the far flung areas.
• Currently there are 14 Tele-centres existing within the Thusong Centres, these Tele-centres are managed by young entrepreneurs, thus creating job opportunities and assisting to widen government access to information, particularly in the rural areas.
• The Programme has enjoyed the support of the Business Community (particularly the mines) where major capital injection was infused towards the construction of Centres as part of the Business Cooperate Social Responsibility.
•To date, about 109 Centre Managers and caretakers have been assigned to oversee the operations of the Centres and to ensure that they operate at their optimum level.
Minister Muthambi also reminds public servants of their responsibility towards communities. The following principles are expected of public servants:
Citizens should be consulted about the level and quality of the public services they receive and, wherever possible, should be given a choice about the services that are offered.
2. Service standards
Citizens should be told what level and quality of public service they will receive so that they are aware of what to expect.
All citizens should have equal access to the services to which they are entitled.
Citizens should be treated with courtesy and consideration.
Citizens should be given full accurate information about the public services they are entitled to receive.
6. Openness and transparency
Citizens should be told how national and provincial departments are run, how much they cost and who is in charge.
If the promised standard of service is not delivered, citizens should be offered an apology, a full explanation and a speedy and effective remedy; and when complaints are made and citizens should receive a sympathetic, positive response.
8. Value for money
Public services should be provided economically and efficiently in order to give citizens the best possible value for money.
“If all abide by these principles our service to the public will improve exponentially. I look forward to a changed culture of serving our people and hopefully a national dialogue will be triggered by activities set aside for this week to mark the existence of these centres,” says Muthambi.
For more information on the Thusong Programme visit www.thusong.gov.za
Issued by Government Communications and Information System (GCIS)