Don’t Forget African Service Day

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The African Public Service Day (APSD), to be celebrated in two weeks’ time, should serve as an invaluable opportunity for Namibians to identify, share and unite their efforts for common service delivery. Making the announcement, Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila early this week said that APSD, on June 23, 2006, should be regarded as a forum to unite efforts for common service delivery to meet the various social and developmental challenges, to share experiences and showcase good public service initiatives. The African Union, Amathila said, realises the contribution that the public service has in national and continental developments. Therefore, celebrations such as these should at the continental level highlight major pitfalls identified by member states. As the African continent takes her rightful place in a global world, more emphasis is being placed on national governments and the private sector. However, this development and expectation is not one-sided. According to the deputy prime minister, it places equal responsibility on the public sector institutions for greater coordination, efficiency, accountability, professionalism and ethical service. “APSD on June 23 will be celebrated in every country across the continent to recognise the role and value of the public service sector, to serve as a reminder of their responsibility to the public as custodians of public policy, and for the effective and efficient implementation of public programmes,” she stated. This year, the day will be celebrated under a common theme, ‘Building an ethical Public Service for improved service delivery in Africa’. Considering that one of the main objectives of APDS is to give due recognition to the working conditions and the quality of men and women who devote their lives to diligently serve the various public, sub-themes will concentrate on empowering citizens, especially rural communities, and on how to enhance accessibility to the public service. Promoting good corporate governance by implementing good ethics, fraud prevention, professionalism and anti-corruption are other issues to be looked at during this year’s celebrations. She said, “Celebrations will be well organised… where feasible, there will be opportunity through satellite link for countries to have interaction and to share their respective experiences, successes and pitfalls in public sector management and civil service administration.” In the SADC region, the steering committee intends to have a satellite transmission hub in South Africa to provide the beam and connectivity to all member states for internal access, redistribution and re-broadcasting across their respective states. Findings have revealed that most African countries have not in the past celebrated APDS formally and thus this year’s activities will be better organised and synchronised, said Amathila. Despite Africa coming from a dark history of wars, coups and instabilities, she said, the continent is making steady progress towards universal stability, peace and continental-wide prosperity.