Western Cape Department of Agriculture Year-End Speech
HOD, senior managers and all employees at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture present here today: Thank you for working so hard and for being so dedicated that we can reflect on 2011 in the proud manner we can today.
Colleagues: 2011 was one of the best years in recent history for this department, and it is you that made it possible. In the space of one year, we were recognised three times for being the best in the country:
- Best research department in South Africa.
- Most female-empowered department in South Africa.
- Overall winner for best Annual Report for a government department in South Africa.
It is truly an honour for me to be the responsible minister to such an outstanding department.
Colleagues, these accolades are not the result of something done overnight. It is not the result of the work from a few individuals. These accolades are the result of persistent hard work and team effort over a long time span. It is the recognition of the effort from each and every official at the department.
But friends, these awards are only the tip of the iceberg. You, the employees at the department, constitute the hidden bulk beneath the surface. So thank you very much for your individual contributions which collectively resulted in excellence for the department.
Colleagues: A winning team needs a shared value system in order to perform well over an extended period of time. And it is interesting to note some of these underlying shared values to be found at our department. I am referring to the most recent Barrett Survey, and I want to focus on only one particular value.
The Barrett Survey revealed to us that the employees at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture want to be the best. We, because I can associate with it as well, want to be winners. This is very important, because it tells us we are not performing this well just because we are lucky at the moment.
Our achievement is not the same as for instance the World Soccer or Rugby tournaments; there you have to be good but you also need a measure of luck to succeed. The ball needs to bounce in your favour in order to win. We on the other hand cannot depend on luck. Our work is simply too important.
It is therefore fitting that employees at the Department of Agriculture do not depend on luck in order to be the best. You have the passion to be the best within you.
And let us be honest: Next year, the pressure will be intense. The rest of South Africa is watching us. Some people are waiting for us to set a foot wrong. With this in mind, I want to ask something of each and every one of the department's employees: Keep on working with the confidence of a champion. Do not allow the extra pressure to subdue you into not making important decisions.
Yes, the pressure and scrutiny will be more intense. But also remember the team you are part of. This is the best government team in South Africa. Your co-workers and supervisors are the best in South Africa. When the going gets tough, you do not want anyone else next to you than precisely the people in this hall today.
Colleagues, the world is moving into an era where agriculture is growing in importance. Feeding people and protecting the environment is on everyone's mind. In South Africa, land ownership is a very important political issue, making the objectives of food production and environmental protection so much more complex.
At the end of 2011, I want to tell you: I have faith in this Western Cape Department of Agriculture team. I am sure there will be new challenges in the New Year. We will experience tension, fatigue and frustration. But then we can draw strength from the fact that we are part of a winning team.
Colleagues, thank you for the hard work. Enjoy the break with your family and friends, and return to the New Year with renewed vigour and energy.