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Batho Pele Principles

Limpopo people deserve better ways of communicating to them

 

By Maanda Mulaudzi

Provincial Government Communicators Forum converged at Tzaneen on 10 - 11 July 2014 to deliberate challenges facing them communication industry. The Forum is made up by heads of Communication from deferent Departments, districts, government parastatals and municipalities.

 

The event is organised by the Office of the Premier with the aim of skills sharing and empowerment of communicators. Expects are also invited to this quarterly forum gathering. Communicators from all corners of the province attended the event.

MEC Jerry Ndou addressed the Forum on behalf of Premier Chupu Mathabatha. He criticised some departments that go the whole month or quarter of the year without communicating anything to the community and the people of the province. Mr Ndou asked if such departments have nothing to communicate or else they are not doing anything in terms of service delivery. The MEC said, “ if the departments or municipalities have nothing to communicate it would mean there is something wrong and those institutions should be closed”

The MEC said that the Executive Council of the Province instructs communicators to strengthen communication between government and communities. “Communities out there need feedback and constant interaction with government and this is what is expected from communicators” He added. Quoting from the papers presented by Naledzani Rasila to the International Health Conference at the University of Venda at the beginning of this month, MEC Ndou said “ There is a communication gap existing between government institutions and communities they serve and this has to be addressed” . Mr. Ndou expressed his concern that although there is existence of good structures such as ward committees, Community development workers and imbizos, still there is a failure to communicate issues of government. “The structures compete instead of complementing each other and these results in a communication gap between government institutions and communities”. The MEC also urged communicators to draw up communication strategies that would guide politicians on how to communicate government programmes.

Mr Naledzani Rasila, Senior Manager, Provincial Communication Services presented a draft Provincial Communication Strategy. In the strategy, it was clearly outlined that it needs to be kept in mind that government is celebrating 20 years of democracy and that there should be partnership with media. Ms Tshaamano Makuya, Provincial Reginal Manager of the SABC emphasised the need for good relationship with media and indicated that the SABC has a number of plans to advance communication in the province. Ms Faith Seletela outlined how best government may use media bulk buying approach to reach out to communities.

In closing the session, Mr Phuti Seloba, Provincial Head of Communication warned all government communicators against resisting media interaction. “There is no room for No comment as comment to media queries. We are to be available at all times to be pro-active in providing information to media.” he added. Mr Seloba also indicated that this is the year communication work has to be shining and that communicators will make the Executive Council happy at all the times. He also called all communicators to call the Office of the Premier, GCIS and COGHSTA incase they need communication assistance.