A Brackenfell woman, who is a long-serving City of Cape Town receptionist, has notched up one good service award after another during 24 years of service, despite being partially blind.
Madelene van der Bergh, 49, was among several City employees rewarded for their loyal service on Saturday May 28, at Cape Town Stadium.
Ms Van der Bergh, who suffers from macular degeneration, said winning the mayoral award in the well-run city category, had caught her by surprise. This is not her first accolade from the City. Late last year, she received awards for going the extra mile and exceptional customer service. She was also given the employee of the year award in the the facility management department.
“Just knowing someone recognises that you’re trying your absolute best, is an awesome feeling,” she said.
Recounting the days when she had had to travel daily by train to her job in Parow, from Brackenfell, worrying about delays and finding alternative transport or begging for lifts, Ms Van der Bergh said the award had done a lot to soothe that memory.
In 2014, the City transferred her to the Brackenfell municipal building, which is in walking distance from her home. “Now I don’t ask people for help anymore. For the first time in many years, I can just walk to my workplace without any form of assistance.”
The City said Ms Van der Bergh, who is stationed at the specialised technical services building in Brackenfell, displayed exceptional customer service and always sought to improve the ability to serve the public. Pierrinne Leukes, spokeswoman for mayor Patricia de Lille, said that despite Ms Van der Bergh’s poor eyesight, she had given professional and efficient service throughout the years.
“She goes beyond her duties to implement procedures to reduce the time customers have to spend in queues.”
One example, Ms Leukes said, was the installation of “hotlines” at the walk-in centres, from which customers could be directly connected to an operator at the call centre.
Ms Van der Bergh described meeting Ms De Lille for a brief chat and described it as a “special experience”.
There were 13 recipients of mayoral awards that evening.
Ms De Lille said the City took great pride in the commitment of its staff of 27 000 people.
“I value the work done by each and every person who works to make their great city what is increasingly being known for being the best-run metropolitan municipality in the country.”
The mayor said the awards came about after a City-sanctioned employee survey, Siyamamela (“We are listening”), “which found that staff felt as if they weren’t being acknowledged for their achievements”.