Today we present the last part of the Kagiso Trust support to the municipality, namely community engagement. Kagiso Trust contracted Grounded Media to conduct research on Makana’s communication challenges and to also develop an integrated communication strategy.
The research found that clear, open and consistent communication between the municipality and its communities remain the biggest challenge.
It also found that the absence of a communication strategy leads to critical information not getting to stakeholders on time which leads to frustration. This is due to the fact that there are only 2 officials responsible for communication and they are overwhelmed in dealing with wide ranging communication needs of the municipality.
To address these challenges, the municipality intends to do a number of things including:
- Through the organisational review process, to beef up the communication unit with additional capacity.
- Improve communication with wards through ward committees
- The municipality website will be a one stop shop for municipal communication. Some strides have been made in this regards. The research found that the website is contains relatively up to date information. The municipality will investigate the possibility of creating community portal on the website. The portal will function as an extension to the existing Mobisam and redefine.
- The need to evaluate the role of the community development workers as a key communication mechanism.
- The need to disseminate information through churches, taxis and other community based structures.
- Partnership with Rhodes University journalism department should be strengthened by making use of students as interns.
- Although the municipality uses social media as a communication tool, this should be used as a two way tool.
- The Joza Youth hub is community center located in Joza that can also be used as communication hub.
- The Assumption Development Centre is a computer lab with 10 computers which allows residents to access internet. Collaborating with the ADC will end legitimacy to any municipal communication initiative.
- The effective use of these platforms as well as partnership with stakeholders should improve communication between the Municipality and the community which allows for the logging of complaints using mobile devices.
Hon. Executive Mayor Cllr. Mzukisi Mpahlwa