The Ugu District Municipality Mayoralty and Communications Section under the Office of the Municipal Manager and consists of five units which their onus is to ensure satisfaction of the external stakeholders serviced by the Ugu District Municipality.
The Mayoralty and Communications Section performs political and administration duties of the Municipality. This section must ensure communication lines are kept active and accessible for the public to interact with the political and administration leadership on issues of service delivery.
The Mayoralty and Communications Section units are:
- Communications and Political Support
- Customer Relations
- Intergovernmental Relations (IGR)
- Special Programmes and Youth Development
- Public Participation
The Communications Office is responsible for the facilitation of communication between Ugu District Municipality and its internal and external stakeholders.
The onus of this unit is to coordinate all communication activities in the Municipality.
The Office is also created to provide strategic advice and counsel with regard to communication policy development, programme planning and programme implementation; development and implementation of communication plans.
The office uses various platforms and mediums of communication to solicit the views of the public, whilst consistently disseminating information on the objectives, programmes, decisions, actions and activities of Ugu District Municipality.
Through the communications office, the municipality must establish and maintain a positive relationship and mutual understanding with its stakeholders.
- Creating a positive image of the municipality and the district as well as political confidence amongst its constituency
- Developing and creating platforms for local communities to constructively engage with the municipality on its programme of action with regards to development and service delivery
- Establish fully functional communication forums within the district, which ensures coherent messaging in the local government communication system
- Consulting and mobilising all relevant stakeholders to participate in the implementation of service delivery programmes
- Protocol for branding of all municipal information and messaging to be consistent
- Capacitating political leadership and communicators
TEN COMMANDMENTS OF COMMUNICATION
The Ten Commandments of Communication have been developed by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and are meant to serve as core principles guiding all communication work, within the three spheres of government:
- Government work is essentially public activity - we should continually challenge the paradigm that government work is secret activity which unfortunately goes public from time to time. Rather the approach should be how to manage the flow of information in the interest of the country. Especially for our colleagues in the bureaucracy, it is necessary to develop an appreciation that it does matter what the people know and think
- A central communication service should have authority to carry out its work - it should be located in the highest office, privy to decision-making processes including Cabinet, and able to exercise discipline among all communicators. The latter may require occasional intervention by the President
- Political principals are the main communicators - from the President and Ministers to regional/provincial executives and local councils. The public servants employed as "communicators" are first and foremost facilitators, creating opportunities for the principals to articulate their messages, rather than themselves courting publicity
- Everyone in government is a communicator: this includes a clerk in a local office of government. Indeed, a message of caring would sound ridiculous if the official at the front office is arrogant and rude to citizens
- Communication should be based on an integrated communication strategy and programme, with core messages which guide all the actors. This is a critical prerequisite to pro-active communication, instead of always responding to others' agenda
- Communication structures do not determine policy - they articulate it. In doing so, it is imperative always to tell the truth (or just keep quiet), for if attempts are made to embellish, this will in time be found out. Further, it is critical in difficult situations to examine the real causes of the difficulties, and avoid blaming communicators, as a rule, for what may in fact be defects in the policy itself
- Communication is more than just media liaison: a multi-media approach should be adopted particularly in implementing major campaigns, including own productions and other unmediated forms, with specific target groups in mind
- Direct communication and mutual exchange of views with the public is the most effective form of communication - where resources are available, there should be communicators in all localities, multi-skilled development workers to provide both information and services
- In working out campaigns and programmes, there should be a deliberate effort to understand the communication environment, including target groups, appropriate media platforms, messages and forms of interaction. In this regard, communication research is a critical element of the trade: communication is an art form, but it should be based on science
- Communication campaigns work best when they are carried out in partnership with others outside of government. This would include researchers, NGO's, role-models for specific sectors and son on all of which can, if mobilised and supportive, transmit similar messages sometimes with a greater measure of credibility and impact.