26 October 2018 Photo Stephen Collett
Parks Tau at JN Boshoff lecture, believes that the state should assume role as leader
Parks Tau, who delivered this year’s JN Boshoff lecture, believes that the state should assume its rightful role as leader of all citizens.

The state entered into a covenant with society. The state is therefore obliged to provide essential services to the people. Holding into account the public sector is the White Paper on Local Government which was implemented at the birth of democracy. Now that the post-apartheid period has matured, leaders are unpacking the loaded subject of public service.

In his capacity as the South African Local Government Association president, Parks Tau delivered the 2018 JN Boshoff Memorial Lecture. He shared his views on: ‘What is the significance of the Public Service in nation-building within a democracy?’ 

The lecture was hosted by the Department of Public Administration and Management, at the University of the Free State’s Bloemfontein Campus on Wednesday 17 October 2018. Tau reiterated that the founding principles of social development and economic growth, integration, empowerment, and learning should be treated as a commitment by the government to the citizens of South Africa.

Constitutional rights reserved

In addition to communities being entitled to basic services such as the provision of water, sanitation, and safety, it is necessary to “move beyond merely stating the principle of Batho Pele. It requires of us to appreciate the role of the state in promoting equity and development in all communities”, Tau said.

Rights coupled with responsibilities 

Citizens and communities are responsible for safeguarding public property and making certain public officials are held accountable. “This covenant therefore goes both ways. It is about a relationship of mutual interest and benefit, and one that promotes both community and nationhood,” said the former Executive Mayor of the city of Johannesburg.

Tau stated that much work needed to be done through effective policies, legislation and investments to return the country to the levels of investor confidence that our national economy enjoyed during its highest rating from Moody’s in the 2008/9 financial year. This would ensure that the state assumed its rightful role as leader and organiser of different stakeholders and “takes its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations”, as enshrined in the constitution.

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