The Department of Tourism received the top accolade at the 2016 National Batho Pele Excellence Awards (NBPEA) for being the Best Functioning National Department of the Year.
The Department of Public Service and Administration's (DPSA) Batho Pele Excellence Awards recognise and promote improved public servants performance, and a professional and productive public service.
"I am very proud of the department, and this Gold award affirms that our vision and plans to grow the tourism industry on the right track," said Hanekom.
Tourism was among 38 government departments that were assessed within the Best Functioning National Department category, based on the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) and the Auditor General (AG) report.
The assessment considered areas of strategic planning; finances; operational planning; management and implementation, and the impact of the work done by the department on its beneficiaries and the broader society.
"Excellent service is the keystone of the work we do in tourism. It is entrenched in our strategies and our work culture, and it inspire us to continuously work hard to serve our citizens and position our country as one of the top tourist destination in the world," said Hanekom.
In 2015/16, the department achieved more than 85% of its performance targets, and also received an unqualified clean audit by the Auditor General.
The Director General of Tourism, Mr Victor Tharage, received the Best Director General of the year awards. The award recognised exceptional leadership skills and expertise, with a proven record of leading transformation and change management in the department.
"I am extremely proud of my DG - Victor Tharage, and this Gold award is well deserved. He is hardworking and humble, and his officials have ample confidence in his leadership," added Hanekom.
The National Batho Pele Excellence Awards (NBPEA) were launched in 2013 to ensure a professional and productive public service and an improved public servants performance. The awards promote the sharing of best practices, gauge citizen satisfaction towards government performance, and reward good performance.