Stern warning for spin doctors

Government communicators should refrain from being involved in the politics of their respective government spheres and focus on their main mandate: being a civil servant.

Former Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesperson, now a political analyst and researcher, Ongama Mtimka
Image: File/ Mike Holmes

This stern warning was issued by a former Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesperson, now a political analyst and researcher, Ongama Mtimka, on Thursday.

Mtimka was delivering the keynote address at a national communicators forum conference at the East London ICC, which was organised by the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

“There is a political culture in municipalities, and government is a formal institution of politicians. So when you are in government you are in politics – but do not play the political game,” Mtika said to resounding applause.

In most cases where spokespersons get involved in party politicking, when there is a leadership shakeup at municipalities they end up losing their jobs when those they had been opposed to in the buildup to an elective conference came to occupy office.

Salga organised the event in an effort to upskill local government spokespersons and provide a platform to deliberate on the progress of local government and the challenges hindering service delivery.

Salga executive manager Lance Joel said there was a need for a state grant to help create a desirable environment for communicators.

He said that there was a culture encouraging a responsive but not proactive work ethic with state communicators.

He challenged the spokespersons to “tell at least one good story a week”.

“They go missing in action at critical times and only surface when there is some damage control,” Joel said.

Addressing the communicators, BCM mayor Xola Pakati said they should maintain a relationship with the media.

The two-day event is in its third year.

BY SIPHE MACANDA- DispatchLIVE

Source: TMG Digital

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