Officials from the Department of Labour patiently assisting members of the public in the scorching sun during a visit at the Underberg Show

2002 – 2005

“Laying a solid foundation in government communications through development communications”

The year 2002 introduced me to the art of development communication. I was located at the Sisonke Government Information Centre (GIC) in Ixopo where I was providing development communication to the former Sisonke District Municipality which comprised of Greater Kokstad, Matatiele, Ingwe, Ubuhlebezwe and KwaSani Local Municipalities.

During this time the structure of local government was at its infancy and there was not much coordination between this structure and government with a view of implementing development communication.

As a result of this a huge task was to lobby with these municipalities for them to understand the role of GCIS and the development communication approach which would ultimately provide them with sufficient motivation towards the establishment of Thusong Service Centres by the municipalities.

During that time networks were created across the district with relevant stakeholders such as the media, government departments and community based structures. Distribution points for public information were established and maintained on a regular basis across all the municipalities with government information.

At this point Mr Simpiwe Mxakaza was being interviewed by a journalist from The Informer local newspaper about the involvement of the GCIS and Department of Labour at the Underberg Show

Through partnerships with stakeholders a variety of information sessions and exhibitions were held by the GIC in partnership with such stakeholders.

One partnership worth noting relate to the Department of Labour and GCIS at the Underberg Show in 2003 which was planned based on a need identified from the farm laborers on the appalling conditions of employment which they were under. The information presented at this point related to the rights of employees in general and contact with the Department of Labour with the view of getting first hand information from the farm labourers on their conditions and presenting options for assistance by the department.

The pictures in this article relates to the intervention brought about by the Sisonke GIC. Other forms of intervention related to the invitation of the former Umsobomvu Youth Fund and other stakeholders to a youth church summit in Jolivet with the view of providing young members of the church with information on economic opportunities available at the time for the youth.

These interventions coupled with exhibitions and distribution of government information provided me with a solid foundation in the implementation of development communication for the benefit of the public.