Zuma repeats warning to lazy public servants

President Jacob Zuma has once again vowed to act against incompetent and lazy public servants, including elected government ministers, South African Broadcasting Corporation radio news reported on Monday.

“We now need to ensure that the government works. Firstly, there’s a change of culture in government. You know, government works very slowly ... people take their time, they can’t sign a document today ...,” he said.

Zuma vowed to crack down on the culture of incompetence afflicting the public service.

He conceded that service delivery within the public service was a sham and that this fuelled negative perceptions about the state’s capacity to deliver on its constitutional mandate.

“If people at the door or the gate are in a queue, they’ll say OK, come tomorrow. I’m saying that this must change.

“Nobody must be turned back in the queue. You must finish it today. If a document has to be signed today it must be signed today,” Zuma said.

Education is key
Meanwhile, a new police commissioner should be in office after the end of June, Zuma said on Sunday.

The contract of the current incumbent, Jackie Selebi, “who is on special leave pending a criminal case, expires at that time”.

In an SABC television interview, Zuma said a “very decisive decision” would be taken then.

“As you know the commissioner of police, I think the contract ends in June, between June or July. And I’m certain that once it ends there will be a very decisive decision taken with regards to the commissioner.

“So that is being worked on, that we are not going to have acting people all the time. It doesn’t give a good impression that you are dealing with issues seriously, so that is going to be addressed, and the minister is working on it,” Zuma said.

He also said that education is the key to sorting out South Africa’s problems. His government “meant business” when it came to promoting education, he said during the SABC television interview.

“If we are to address all the ills that face our country, education is the key. Because if you have not educated your population, it means [they are] not empowered to participate in the economic activities, or in any other activity.

“And therefore it is important to educate the population. It’s therefore important to invest in education. It’s critical,” he said.

Any nation that wanted to develop had to educate its people, and provide them with skills. Zuma said his government’s focus on this was not just a matter of saying education was necessary to move forward.

“We’ve split the ministries so that there is specific focus given on both, but critical at the basic education, because that’s where the formative years are. That’s where you shape a human being.”

Zuma said he was set to engage “every sector” involved in education, including school principals, teachers and pupils.

“So I’m already organising a meeting to begin to discuss with the principals, because in the first instance, if you are a manager you’ve got to manage appropriately, and therefore a principal must do his or her work. All of us must understand that in fact we mean business,” he said.—Sapa

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