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Pretoria – Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has urged municipal communicators to maximise the use of community media platforms as a crucial tool in development.

“You need to communicate the good work that your municipalities are doing. As communicators, you must also ensure that your municipal websites are updated. Brag on social media about the progress in terms of service delivery in your respective municipalities.

“The beauty of using community media is that you are able to communicate directly to citizens in their own languages.

“When you engage local communities through various community media forums to seek a broader consensus around development initiatives, a project is likely to succeed and increases a sense of ownership and the community feels empowered,” she said.

Minister Muthambi was speaking at the inaugural South African Local Government Association (Salga) National Communicators Forum in Pretoria earlier today.

The Minister discouraged the practice of advertising municipal events on national newspapers. She told communicators that they should not only use community media when their respective municipalities are faced with a communication crisis.

Salga CEO Xolile George said the programme of the inaugural National Communicators Forum is designed to give each participant an opportunity to collectively engage with key stakeholders in the local government sector towards a common understanding that communication is vital to effective service delivery.

“One of the objectives of the forum is also to launch the Municipal Barometer portal, which is proudly a ‘One Stop Shop for Local Level Performance Data’. The Municipal Barometer is a web-based portal aimed at collecting, packaging and disseminating readily available, easily accessible and timely local governance and development data.

“The aim of the Municipal Barometer launch is to raise awareness and showcase the features of the portal,” he said.

George said communications should be a strategic function of every municipality and should be streamlined to create an active and engaged citizenry.

“This forum is envisaged not only to influence communication operations in every municipality but also to bring about municipal policy positions that empower communication to become the pulse of service delivery,” George said. – By Nthambeleni Gabara for SAnews.gov.za

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