The perception that Eastern Cape is "rotten" should stop, the province's premier Nosimo Balindlela has said.
Balindlela was commenting on the results of a Markinor survey that showed that she and her administration were top in the country.
"Down with people who say our province is rotten," Balindlela said to loud applause from civil servants.
Lunch-time for civil servants was extended to three hours on Friday when Balindlela held a mini-party for them in Bhisho.
"I really felt I had to come and thank you," she said.
"Nothing is done by one person and each member [of the civil service] has contributed to this success. We have a wonderful team spirit," Balindlela said.
She was voted the most popular premier in the country by people in the urban and rural areas, scoring 69percent . Her provincial administration scored 62percent for performance.
Balindlela said the government was "under pressure" because of the "poor souls who expect it to do something for them".
"A civil servant should ask: 'Have I done something for the poor today?'" she said.
She warned that her "Ekuseni ngo-4o'clock" (4am) meetings with MECs and senior managers in a
bid to improve service delivery would now be held with middle managers and lower- ranking staff.