‘It is in our collective interest that we fix governance’

The 21st conference of the South African Association of Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM) in collaboration with the National School of Government and Walter Sisulu University is currently underway at the East London ICC. This conference started on Monday this week and is expected to end on Friday, September 30.

SAAPAM’s mission is to encourage and promote good governance and effective service delivery through the advancement of professionalism, scholarship and practice in public administration and management.

The Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane gave a speech at this conference. “The challenges we have in the public service were not caused by natural disasters; they were man-made. It will take courageous and patriotic South Africans to solve them and many of those courageous and patriotic South Africans are in this conference,” he said.

The Premier continued and said, “It is upon all of us to play our part to rescue our country as scholars gathered here you have a national duty to help us lead better in the public administration not through common sense but through well-researched analysis and policies.”

Mabuyane spoke on the importance of clean audit. He said that there must be discomfort in professional bodies about poor audit outcomes in the public sector. That discomfort must not only be expressed through words but with commitment to work with government to fix what is broken.

“As a provincial government we are making steadily progress towards universal attainment of clean audit outcomes. In the recent reports, seven provincial government departments and seven public entities obtained clean audit outcomes,” said Mabuyane at this conference.

The Premier touched on the improvement of governance and service delivery. He said, “The vision of the SAAPAM says, ‘the organisation seeks to contribute towards the development of good governance and effect service delivery.’ The lack of good governance and effective service delivery in some of our institution is what keeps me awake at night because the citizens of our country deserve better.”

“At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic between August 2020 and January 2021, SAPS recorded 909 service delivery protests in our country. That should tell all of us that we have a serious problem in our hands,” said Mabuyane.

Mabuyane called upon those who attended the conference and led at various institutions to pay attention to the poor and marginalised who are tired of lack of access to services and corruption. Those are the people that make up the service delivery protests. “We must realise that these masses of our people have nothing to lose hence it is in our collective interest that we fix governance and improve service delivery in the public service before things become worse,” said Mabuyane.

Last year’s conference was held in Sun City in the North West province under the theme ‘intersections in government structures and functions in the 21st century: public sector & technology, public trust and covid-19’s effects.’ This year’s theme is, ‘towards 30 years of democratic public administration, management and governance.’