“Don’t think for other people. Listen to them and understand their situations. Interact with the public and with individuals – that is what is important”, advised Hausiku.
The Deputy PM was speaking at the official opening of the first Intra-Regional workshop for the //Kharas, Hardap, Omaheke and Khomas regions on the Popularisation of the African Charter on the Values ad Principles of Public Service and Administration. The workshop was hosted by the Efficiency and Charter Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister.
“We are aware of the challenges of citizen participation and consultation and intend to improve citizen engagement in service delivery. Our national policy and guidelines process will include a level of public participation. It is important to point out that while systems for managing public participation tend to be informal and ad hoc, genuine efforts have been made to incorporate public inputs where these were sought”, noted Hausiku.
According to the Deputy PM, a recurring challenge around the concept of public participation is the lack of guidelines prescribing minimum levels of consultation. Such guidelines, he said, are particularly important in understanding and dealing with citizen expectations.
“The definition of consultation cannot only begin and end with information sharing like at trade shows, workshops like this one, conferences, surveys, etc. The real understanding of participatory democracy is based on practical interaction between members of the public and policy makers and implementors”, remarked Hausiku.
Also speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Algeria to Namibia, Lahcene Kaid-Slimane, advocated for the consistent treatment of all citizens and he encouraged civil servants to put themselves in the shoes of the people they are serving.
“It is very important to have training on service delivery but it is also critical for moral and ethical training”, said Kaid-Slimane.
The second Pan-African Conference of Ministers for Public/Civil Service, held in December 1998, mooted the creation of an African Public Service Charter to lay a strong foundation for governance and public administration on the continent.
The initial Charter for the Public Service in Africa was adopted by the third Biennial Conference in Windhoek during February 2001. During the fourth conference, held in South Africa during May 2003, it was decided to broaden the work on the Charter and to fully integrate it into the African Union Commission (AUC) work programs.
The fifth Conference, held in Ethiopia during December 2005, requested Algeria to lead the review process of the Charter and to facilitate its adoption by the AUC. It is in this regard that the Algerian Ambassador was invited to be part of the program in recognition of his country’s leadership role in championing the review process of the Charter.
The Charter was eventually adopted by the sixth conference, held in South Africa during October 2008. After substantive input from member states the Charter was presented to Heads of State and Governments for adoption and ratification. Namibia ratified the Charter one year ago.
“The Charter provides the requisite building blocks and tools for public/civil servants to perform their respective duties optimally. Through individual and collective internalisation of the letter and spirit of the Charter we can all make a meaningful contribution in shaping a new Namibia that we can all be proud to live in”, added Hausiku.