KWAZULU-NATAL'S Meshack Hadebe is the most recognised and popular MEC in the country - he has an award to prove it.
Yesterday, the MEC for social development received a public sector excellence award for being one of the 10 most recognised leaders in the country.
A survey conducted by TNS Research Surveys in July asked members of the public to vote for ministers they thought were doing a good job. Hadebe was the only MEC in the top 10 list.
Those who made it into the top 10 are President Jacob Zuma, his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, S'busiso Ndebele, Naledi Pandor, Tito Mboweni, Bheki Cele and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.
Accepting the award, Hadebe said being a leader from a province believed to be "rotten, based on its history", he was very humbled and honoured.
"This award, however, is not for me. I am receiving it on behalf of my department and all its staff members. This is for their hard work and collective effort," Hadebe said.
He urged his staff not to become big-headed and warned that, following the award, they would now be subjected to more public scrutiny.
"There is room for improvement. We have worked hard and still have a lot to do, but we are very close," he said.