Batho Pele Principle

Why Batho Pele?

Batho Pele, a Sesotho word, which means “People First”, is an initiative that was launched in 1997 to transform the Public Service at all levels. Batho Pele was launched because democratic South Africa inherited a Public Service that was not people-friendly and lacked the skills and attitudes to meet the developmental challenges facing the country.

In the struggle to transform the Public Service, the old culture has to be changed to ensure that our people are served properly, that all staff work to their full capacity and treat state resources with respect.

Improving Service Delivery

Batho Pele is an approach to get public servants committed to serving people and to find ways to improve service delivery. This approach also requires the involvement of the public in holding the Public Service accountable for the quality of service provided. Batho Pele is also about moving the Public Service from a rules-bound approach that hinders the delivery of services to an approach that encourages innovation and is results driven. In other words instead of looking for reasons why government cannot do something, they have to find better ways to deliver what people need. Managers in public service have a key role to play in creating an environment for their staff to become effective in the way they interact with customers. This requires that they focus on motivating staff, ensure that they have the right tools to do their work and provide on-going support especially at times when staff are under pressure and stress.

The Batho Pele belief set has been summarised by this slogan: “We belong, we care, we serve.” Batho Pele aims to ensure that all public servants put people first, and adhere to the following overarching framework:

We belong: we are part of the Public Service and should work together and respect fellow colleagues
We care: caring for the public we serve – our customers
We serve: all citizens will get good service from public servants.
Batho Pele is based on the following eight principles:

Consultation: citizens should be consulted about their needs
Standards: all citizens should know what service to expect
Redress: all citizens should be offered an apology and solution when standards are not met
Access: all citizens should have equal access to services
Courtesy: all citizens should be treated courteously
Information: all citizens are entitled to full, accurate information
Openness and transparency: all citizens should know how decisions are made and departments are run
Value for money: all services provided should offer value for money.