Public service providing departments have since time immemorial been notorious of discourteous staff that seems to be gifted in the ‘art’ of poor service delivery. This disorder still prevails to this date.

From where I am standing, it seems as if his Excellency’s calls for delivery are falling on deaf ears in some government departments. It is always a nightmarish experience for members of the public when seeking assistance from these service providers.

After a prolonged period of queuing, one may encounter a hostile attendant who shows less enthusiasm, or lack thereof, in dispensing the required help. Some even do the unthinkable and hurl unprofessional remarks at the ill-fated client. Verbal Diarrhea. Their most menacing behavior is unleashed during the countdown to lunch time. Characteristic of uncivil behavior by civil servants. It seems as though good customer service is tantamount to doing customers favours.

A certain department, which I will not name for fear of victimization, has grown to be popular for its staff’s trademark “System e Down” excuse. What in Jesus’ name is this “system” they are always talking about. What system, show me the system. This terminology literally suffers abuse at the hands of non-zealous staff whose level of improvisation leaves a lot to be desired. However, the above instances are just a tip of the iceberg. It should be borne in their minds that they are our servants not masters. If anything, the clientele that is the public are the masters.

One can safely conclude that most of these perpetrators are there for the month-end salary not passion for the job. I cannot help but remind them of the maxim “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. A moral lesson can be learnt from results oriented private sector employees who would stop at nothing in satisfying their customers. Thanks to the profit motive, ours is a customer-conscious   private sector. If only all government-provided services could be privatized; but that is just my beautiful dark twisted futuristic fantasy. I pray that a new dawn of industriousness finds its way into our public service personnel in 2011 and beyond. There is a pre-requisite for introspection. ’System e down’, whatever that means, should no longer be part of the vocabulary.

The presidency is faced with more taxing issues in the form of Poverty Eradication and Survival International hence cannot afford to be admonishing and monitoring public servants perennially. In the words of that legendary folklore artiste Ratsie Sethako (may his soul rest in peace), “A re Chencheng”. I cannot agree more with him.

Ronald Badubi

University of Botswana

Disclaimer : These are opinions of the writer. Pristine Management is not for or against the views in the subject matter above.