Speech by Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi at Wits University graduation ceremony

11 March 2016

11 Mar 2016

Minister Muthambi graduation ceremony address at University of the Witwatersrand 10th, March, 2016

Vice Chancellor Professor Habib
Council members
Academic and non-academic staff,
Parents, partners/spouse and sponsors,
Graduands and Students,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

It is indeed a privilege and an honour for me to be speaking to you at this august occasion.  Your gesture to invite me is a confirmation of the seriousness with which you take communications. Indeed in the era we live in the subject of communication is a nexus for peace, economic development and social cohesion. Sometimes conflicts break out purely because of poor communications.

Graduation epitomizes every student’s academic pursuit. It is also a moment to look back at what one has achieved in the many programmes and courses undertaken as you charts the way forward to enter professional careers of choice. The fact that you are graduating today is a clear testimony that you have successfully gone through the academic rigour that has culminated in you being conferred with certificates. I once again congratulate you for your sacrifice and efforts that have enabled you to attain this honour. 

As most of you will know that one of the biggest challenges facing government is in the area of communication.  Your being here is an effort from our part to ensure that our communication is improved and made more effective. 

The Wits School of Governance has assured me that you have interacted with a wide range of experienced Communicators that have brought to bear their many years of professionalism and experience. I have also been assured that as you sit here today, you have been provided with skills and expertise needed for Government to effectively communicate with stakeholders and also enabled to respond to a whole range of stakeholder information needs. 

The people centred orientation that government has adopted in relation to service delivery, calls for additional skills and expertise including branding capability of a range of government services.  It is important for all of us to understand that communication is in itself service delivery. To communicate is to deliver a service. If our people are not sufficiently informed about how their tax monies are spent, it should not come as a surprise when from time to time we get various protests.

The government is operating in a very complex environment which has both local and international permutations that require appropriate communication expertise. We need to know how to communicate, which information and be mindful of the audience we are communicating to.

My department is currently rolling out Broadcasting Digital Migration which will broaden the digital broadcasting space.It is these kinds of developments that requires a modern Communicator of your calibre.  My expectation is that this programme has prepared you to be able to interface with the whole milieu of not only communication platforms but also an ability to customise messages for specific target markets.

As I conclude, it is important for all of you, to understand and appreciate that you now carry a big responsibility of being ambassadors not only of government but of the Wits School of Governance. You must carry these brands with pride and inspire confidence to all those you will be interacting with.  

I also have a bit of good news for some of you this afternoon.  It is with great excitement that I advise you that Bidvest, in its support to government and my Ministry in particular, has committed to accommodate the top 5 graduates from this programme into the Bidvest Group of companies. Bidvest  has advised that the top 5 graduates will be placed in various of their businesses across their group for a period of six weeks to gain experience and exposure to the various operational and leadership aspects of the business. This is another example of how private sector should be working with Government to achieve a common goal. We are indeed grateful to Bidvest for their patriotic gesture and we hope that it will inspire more companies to do the same.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Finally I take this opportunity to challenge our graduates to uphold the ethical values acquired from this University as they endeavor to serve our fellow South Africans with a lot of diligence. Make all of us proud in particular your parents, some of which never had these opportunities. May I wish you good luck in all your future endeavors.

Thank You.

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