Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo Picture: Supplied
Durban – South African Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo on Thursday said she has a strategy to improve overall government communication, streamlining the messages from the various government departments to ensure that in the midst of negative media reports, the positive work by the state also grabbed headlines.

“What I have told my office is that the only thing that we can continue to give our people is hope,”she said.

“Hope for those who have not experienced the services of government, hope for those who have received the services of government but also sharing the stories who have received great services of government,” Dlodlo told the African News Agency (ANA) on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa currently underway in Durban.

“We have a wide range of issues, products and services that we deliver to our people. But the issue is how do we communicate that? How do we package that for targeted audiences and that has been a problems that we have experienced as government. And I think many governments in the continent as well [have similar problem] because all that you will hear is the bad things that are happening, which kills the hope of our people.”

Dlodlo said she had planned weekly sessions where she addressed South Africans on what government had done in that particular week, but also forecasting on what government hoped to achieve in the near future.

“What I have decided to do is that every Friday I will speak to the nation on what is it that we have done as government in the week, but also what will be done in the following week. So it will be a post-mortem and also looking forward, projecting our work for the following week,” said Dlodlo.

“Every month I am going to be talking to the communicators of government on the messaging that each and every department must stick to. We have very pertinent programmes that we are supposed to be delivering on.

“We have the National Development Plan, Vision 2013, which we have to deliver on. All our messages must be anchored on that. We also have the African Union’s Vision 2063 which our communications must be anchored on.”

The new communications minister said at the WEF meeting she had not had the opportunity to interact with fellow communication ministers from the the continent, but hoped to touch base in the future.

“In time, I think I will be able to link up with them and have conversations with them and have conversations on packaging a common message of African governments to the world, and projecting the world what we do as a continent.

“Of course, there are those who speak French, some speak English, some speak Portuguese, but we have got interpreters. So that is a good opportunity to ensure that the youth in our various countries learn the various languages – whether indigenous or not – that are spoken by our people,” said Dlodlo.

The former public service and administration deputy minister said she believed there were a lot of African stories, which were not all negative, waiting to be told to the rest of the world.

“I don’t think the story is told sufficiently because the story that sells newspapers is the negative story. We all thrive on gossip, we thrive on scoops, things that make us look at [other] things in a very skewed fashion.

“The good feel stories are those that not seen in our mainstream media. The onus is on all of us, as South Africans, to share the good stories of South Africa because you can never afford to be always telling the bad stories, and at the same time expect people to come and invest in your country,” said Dlodlo.

“Those good points and the positive points of who we are, as South Africans, needs to go alongside those negative stories that we churn out everyday.”