East London: Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet has urged government to embrace the concept of innovation in the public service to improve service delivery.
Speaking at the sixth Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) conference in East London, under the theme ‘Innovation transforming government’, Kiviet said one of the major challenges facing government was the urgency to deliver quality services to citizens.
“Governments are under pressure to come up with innovative solutions and approaches that will assist the public service to reduce spending, fast track service delivery and improve the way citizens experience service delivery,” she said.
Although the Eastern Cape was faced with various challenges such as poverty and unemployment, the province was committed to using innovative ways of thinking to improve service delivery.
“It should be noted that the Eastern Cape Province is one of the largest provinces and it is characterised by poverty and unemployment, and it is more rural based. Therefore, it is essential for us to find new ways of doing things in the public sector as the demand for service we provide far exceeds our limited resources,” said Kiviet.
CPSI Chief Executive Officer Thuli Radebe reminded delegates of the many challenges that have previously been identified by both political leaders and the public alike. She emphasised that there was no excuse for these problems to still persist.
“In most instances, policies have been developed, strategic and implementation plans put in place, resources made available, task teams set up but more problems still persist. We need to change perceptions about the public service and how government does things by deploying innovative ways to achieve better results.”
She referred to many public servants who were not allowing constraints stand in their way but became extraordinary where systems and processes may have failed them because they did not want to fail citizens. This entrepreneurial spirit should permeate throughout the public sector.
Radebe said the rationale of the conference was to expose the public sector and its strategic partners to innovation and strategies through sharing of knowledge and experiences.
The conference is also expected to explore various areas where the South African government can and should deliver services in a creative and cost effective way.
Radebe added that government had a responsibility to take advantage of the already existing technologies that will improve the socio-economic status of citizens.
The conference will also interrogate the concept of entrepreneurship in the public sector