2003 Government Communicators' Awards



Government Communicator of the Year
Winner Chief Directorate: Communication
Department of Labour

During the period under review, the Chief Directorate successfully implemented integrated marketing communication campaigns, coordinated numerous stakeholder events to foster mutual understanding between the Department and various stakeholders, as well as managing the communication environment.

The most prominent campaigns embarked on to ensure the successful implementation of legislation included the Unemployment Insurance Fund's campaign on the registration of domestic workers; blitz inspections of companies especially sweat-shops; the Growth and Development Summit; promotion of the National Skills Development Strategy including coordination of the SETAs , as well as Learnership Programmes; increased awareness on the minimum wages for domestic and farm workers; and making workers aware of their rights to compensation for injuries at the workplace via the Sizakala campaign.

The Chief Directorate has a staff of 19, under the leadership of the Senior Executive Manager: Communication: Dr Snuki Zikalala.

National Bua Award
Winner Snuki Zikalala
Department of Labour
Snuki is the Senior Executive Manager of Communications at the Department of Labour. He has been nominated for the leadership role he has played in various campaigns to ensure that information is correctly communicated to the intended target audience, most often, people at grassroots level.

He has also taken campaign visibility to a new height and has been able to lead his team in unpacking difficult legislation to workers and employers to ensure understanding and smooth implementation. Such campaigns include the registration of Domestic Workers with the Unemployed Insurance Fund, issues around the Growth and Development Summit and the Campaign on minimum wages for domestic and farm workers.

Finalist Babs Naidoo
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF)
Babs has been nominated for the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry's WASH Campaign. The WASH Campaign was introduced by the United Nations at the International Conference on Freshwater in Bonn, Germany in December 2001. It represents a concerted global advocacy to place water, sanitation and hygiene firmly on the political agenda.

Babs' submission highlighted the dynamic insight, strategy and management in developing and sustaining a long-term communications project with the potential for substantial public health benefits.

It also highlighted the leadership dedication and foresight in negotiating and structuring a landmark Public-Private Partnership that has already delivered over R5-million in actual value to the WASH Campaign.

Finalist Linda Gqomfa
South African Police Service (SAPS)
Linda has been with the South African Police Service for one year. After only two months with the Service, she negotiated a free slot for the whole year from the SABC's Umhlobo Wenene National Radio, which covers seven provinces. This gave Linda a whole year to communicate to little children throughout the country on crime awareness.

She also visited parents in the East Rand Squatter Camps where crime, especially child abuse, is rife, to ask for permission to use their children on radio to spread the message on crime awareness to the whole country.

She initiated dramas and studio discussions about burning issues regarding crime. Next year, Linda will also be doing the programme for three more radio stations in Northern Sotho, Venda and Tswana.

National Ubungcweti Award
Winner Moabi Pitsi
Department of Social Development
Moabi is a Principal Communication Officer in the Chief Directorate: Communication of the Department of Social Development. He has been nominated for his enthusiasm, skill and perseverance while producing high quality work.

Moabi is the editor of Itirileng, the internal newsletter of the Department and is responsible for overall editorial content, being overall editor, as well as doing layout and design for the said publication. He is also responsible for Hinkweru, the external publication of the Department including writing, layout and design.

Moabi has taken upon himself the responsibility for the layout and design of other promotional products of the Department including posters, pamphlets, t-shirts, calendars and other ad-hoc products.

Finalist Delien Burger
Government Communications (GCIS)
Delien has been the Editor of the popular South African Yearbook for the last few years, most part of which she spent handling the overall production of the publication before the appointment of additional staff.

During the period under review, Delien has continued to demonstrate a canny disposition to accuracy and brevity, often using her initiative to overhaul and transform some of the original copy into a masterpiece worthy of being easily understood by an average reader.

She was also instrumental in editing the first-ever edition of the Pocket Guide to South Africa, which contains pertinent updated information from the SA Yearbook. The Pocket Guide also proved extremely popular with copies distributed not only locally, but international as well to enhance a positive perception about South Africa among potential foreign investors and tourists alike.

Finalist Directorate of Communications Research
The Presidency
Among the key functions of the Directorate of Communications Research Services, is the pro-active communication to the public about Presidency initiatives, policies, and events, as well as the reactive response to media coverage of the Presidency as a whole. The Directorate, under the leadership of Mr Nazeem Mahatey, is also involved in other important writing functions such as the drafting of speeches and papers for the Presidency.

The Directorate has performed exceptionally well over the passed year. Under difficult circumstances and often under high pressure, the unit has successfully and consistently been able to communicate the Presidency in simple yet profound ways. Through careful consideration of government policies and programmes, it has been able to synthesise these into useful letters, speeches and articles for the Principals.

Provincial/Local Bua Award
Winner Thabang Chiloane
Department of Transport, KwaZulu-Natal
Thabang, currently with the National Department of Housing, has been nominated for his work as Head of Communication for the Department of Transport in KwaZulu-Natal until October this year.

Thabang developed a CD on road infrastructure aimed at rural Zulu audiences, he established the department's website, re-established the departmental intranet and established an internal communication programme and the Departmental newsletter Ezethu News.

He was actively involved in building the Department into a nationally recognisable brand. Everyone became aware of the programmes in which the department was involved, especially the Zero Tolerance approach, which proofed successful as most motorists literally slows down when entering the province, thus contributing to their own safety.

Finalist Thandi Mbambo
South African Police Service - SAPS (Free State)
Thandi is a Constable in the Communication and Liaison Services, Southern Free State Police Service. She was nominated for the way she changed the attitude of internal colleagues towards the component of communication and that of the Area Management. Female members, especially, lacked interest in the past to Area projects but this has changed to a huge support of all events by woman. Thandi has adopted an attitude of addressing issues affecting women and children by visiting schools and has recently started engaging women from other government departments in this process.

She is fluent in several languages, adding event more value to her component as she increased interest from media institutions when communicating in the language they broadcast. Thandi has therefore established good relations with the media and continues to network and improve the image of the Area and that of the SAPS.

Finalist Cornelius Monama
Office of the Premier ( North West)
Cornelius is the Head of Communication in the North West province from October 2002. He was nominated for successfully overcoming the challenge to build the province's communication machinery virtually from scratch, as there was no communication policy, nor any effective communication machinery to deliver on the objectives of the province.

In addition, the province never had a communication strategy. There was no mechanism to help ensure that government sends clear, coherent and consistent messages to the people of the province. Therefore Cornelius dedicated his first year to successfully laying the foundation for effective government communication in the province.

Provincial/Local Ubungcweti Award
Winner Josephine Kasumba
Department of Works, Roads and Transport (Free State)
Josephine is a Principal Communication Officer in the Free State Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport, responsible for Internal Communication. She was nominated for the initiative she took in establishing an internal newsletter, Re A Bua. She is the editor and also writes articles, compiles information and ensures that the newsletter is widely distributed.

She has established a team of contact people, spread around the province to ensure every region is given publicity. This has ensured the gapping of the bridge between Head Office and the regional offices.

Josephine also started the MEC Floor Walks, which serves as a form of departmental Imbizo to promote face-to-face communication between political Heads of Department and employees. Another one of her innovations is the Info Desk, which is a mobile device that disseminates relevant departmental information like the vision and mission and other key messages that affect the officials of the department.

Finalist Mary Kodisang
Office of the Premier (Free State)
Mary heads the Communication Services Directorate in the Free State. She has been nominated for her empathetic leadership that keeps staff focused upon the outcome and total effect of their actions upon the lives of communities they serve.

Mary was the driving force behind the organising of 12 successful ‘ EXCO meets the People ' campaigns and two Imbizo Focus Weeks that were held in the Free State. She also ensured, under difficult circumstances, that the three Multi-Purpose Community Centres (MPCCs) are operational and services are running well. She was also the driving force to ensure the establishment and approval of a personnel structure at each MPCC, as well as a management structure at Head Office in the Office of the Premier.

She constantly negotiated with top management to ensure funds for the operational side of the MPCCs and to obtain funds for the establishment of new MPCCs.

Finalist Communications and Marketing Department
Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality
The two-year amalgamation into the single municipal entity of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality required high levels of dedication and commitment of its 16 000 municipal employees.

During this time employees rallied under continuous change experience on many levels. Toward the end of the first quarter of 2003, the Communications and Marketing Department decided to communicate the positive aspects of change to employees in ways that would make them realise they are valued and that their hard work directly contributes to the success of the metro.

The department decided on a tangible, yet corporate, token of appreciation that each employee, regardless of designation or level in the organisation would receive. The Department has been nominated for its Employee Pack, which overall objective was to reiterate the ethics and objectives of the organisation in an informal, almost playful, non-management way so that employees will more readily buy into the corporate ideals. The project was very successful in boosting morale and more campaigns of this nature will be entered into.

Special category - Posthumous Acknowledgement

Brigadier-General Willie Zweni
Wilberforce Willie Mbuyiselo Zweni (Mazambane)
Department of Defence
17 January 1958 – 11 July 2003


Willie Zweni was a good model for the new era of communication in which the strategic role of providing inputs from the communication environment has become important. He did this by questioning organisational decisions, pointing out the implications, fearlessly speaking out on issues from the communication perspective to the top leadership in the department.

He could look critically at what was done and fearlessly and honestly gave his informed view from a communication perspective, in order to advise and protect the credibility of the department.

At his own level with his staff, he practiced this as well by listening and getting informed inputs about communication implications of all matters before him. He truly practiced the spirit of Imbizo with his staff and with the public he was serving as a loyal public official.

Willie based his communication work on the values of the public, the values of democracy, the values of communicators in a democracy, which is about the quest for truth, transparency, openness, accountability, two-way communication, and critical perspective.

He is today receiving this acknowledgement not for a specific product or campaign, but for the role he played in leading, motivating and getting a group of communicators to create good communication products and impact. He believed in the power of the ordinary person to do extraordinary things, and then helped his colleagues to do it.

Photo gallery

Adjudication panel

  • Ms Amina Frense from South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) - Chairperson
  • GCIS Chief Director: Government and Media Liaison Mr Mdu Lembede
  • Ms Elelwani Raphunga from the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF)
  • Mr Johann Koster from the National Association of Broadcasters (NABSA)
  • Mr Phila Ngqumba, Head of Communication in the Eastern Cape. Provinces are represented on the panel on a two-year rotational basis.
  • Mr Nkenke Kekana, Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee




Konica Minolta