​​Service Excellence Awards 2020
By Zona Mpendulo


                            Ms Veronica Mpondwana -Chris Hani District Director receiving an Award on behalf of 
                                                       Tsolwana and Sparrows Child & Youth Care Centre

Eastern Cape Department of Social Development held its 3rd Annual Charlotte Maxeke Service Excellence Awards at the East London International Convention Centre on February, 28, 2020. With the Theme: Promoting and Sustaining Excellence in Community Initiatives of the Eastern Cape Province”, the awards are intended to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding performance in the Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) and Community Development Initiatives sector, that serve as extensions of the department’s efforts to breed self-sufficient and economically developed communities. 

The award ceremony culminates from an in-depth process of sifting through all department funded NPOs to find the best performers. Relaying the purpose of the awards, Head of Department Ntombi Baart said the recognition of these outstanding entities is a form of encouragement for the sector to see the value that it holds not only to the communities they serve but the department as well. “As the department alone we can only do so much, but the NPO and CDI sector play a vital role in the execution of our plans and efforts to developing our people,” said Baart. 

Chairperson of the Adjudication Panel Andrew Mbatha said the selection was a fair process with sustainability being the most important element. “Independent of any department influence, our selection criteria judges according to the strategy the NPO uses, governance structure, management, human resource management, financial resources and administration, relations, as well as monitoring and evaluation,” he said. The NPO sector has 10 award categories and 37 nominees, while the community initiatives had 3 categories and 19 nominees. 

Commending the nominees and winners, MEC Siphokazi Lusithi said the awards are a true reflection of the shift from the welfare to the developmental approach when it comes to improving the lives of our people. “The awards, being named after an iconic woman who beat odds and stereotypes, tells you exactly that we mean business. This reflects a society that refuses to receive handouts despite their past and current circumstances, but roll up their sleeves to ensure a better society for all,” added Lusithi. She also used the platform to further highlight the current alarming scourge of Gender Based Violence(GBV) sweeping the country. “These recent reported cases point to a deep rooted breakdown in our society, which can be further cascaded down to the broken family. This is why we need to continue to keep the family unit at the centre of our development methods,” she added.  In addition to the above listed categories, MEC Lusithi also gave out special recognition awards which seek to recognize individuals who have made notable strides in community development. 

All runners up and winners took home valuable electronics that will further help them to continue bringing about a valuable contribution towards building a caring society, together.