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Media told of charm drive

It's a hard year for the DTPS, with a long postal strike and the Post Office facing hundreds of millions of rands in unpaid bills, and missing the international deadline for switching to digital TV. Picture: File

It's a hard year for the DTPS, with a long postal strike and the Post Office facing hundreds of millions of rands in unpaid bills, and missing the international deadline for switching to digital TV. Picture: File

Published Jul 29, 2015

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Johannesburg - One of the newest departments has accidentally admitted it wants corporate sponsors to help it schmooze the media to improve its image.

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) was split off from the Department of Communications after the elections in May last year under Siyabonga Cwele, the former intelligence services minister.

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“The reputation management of the department is currently at its lowest and journalists do not trust the department.

“We need to gain the trust of the media and the sector, if we are to achieve the departmental goal of being the global thought leader in the ICT sector,” said a DTPS concept document on engaging the media, which the department accidentally e-mailed to the media on Tuesday.

It plans a series of media engagement sessions,bringing together ICT sector communicators, government and state-owned corporation communicators, editors and journalists, with the first meeting on Thursday in Cape Town.

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But the department is a little short of cash, so it wants corporate sponsors to cough up R200 000 for meetings in three cities, to pay for venues, catering, PA systems and background music or DJs, decor and corporate gifts.

In return, sponsors are offered a “speaking opportunity for the main sponsor” and a bit of free advertising at the venues.

The concept document acknowledges that, as the Department of Communications, it was “marred by controversy and negative publicity”, but says it has a “news mandate” from President Jacob Zuma.

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“There is a lot of confusion in the media and the public as to what the work of the department is and the difference between the DTPS and the Department of Communication,” the document states.

The DTPS has had a hard year, with a lengthy postal strike and the Post Office now facing hundreds of millions of rand in unpaid bills, and missing the international deadline for switching to digital TV.

On its website, the DTPS says its mandate is “to create a vibrant ICT sector that ensures that all South Africans have access to robust, reliable, affordable and secure ICT services”.

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