Healing through communication in the eye of the storm

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, says communication can be key in bringing about healing psychological and physical scars following the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal that caused infrastructure damage and led to a loss of lives.

The Minister said this when he tabled the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Budget Vote during a mini-plenary of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“The disaster in KwaZulu-Natal reminds us that the effective dissemination of information based on engagement with communities and social partners is a key contribution towards healing psychosocial and physical scars, and restoring a decimated landscape,” he said.

“This hour of difficulty also reminds us that effective communication has the ability to unlock the very real power of our national treasure of ubuntu, and to open the hearts and pockets of South Africans who want to reach out to people in distress.

“Tragically, the floods of destruction in KwaZulu-Natal followed waves of COVID-19 infections that claimed many lives and livelihoods but which also fostered resilience, compliance and creativity in our nation,” he said.

He said during a visit by the President and Cabinet Ministers, provincial and municipal leaders to flood affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal, those involved in rescue and recovery efforts were faced with questions that needed answering.  

This included, among others, questions about how people could access relief and support services; where people could report missing persons; how affected family members could find out who was searching for their relatives; how they could find out if missing people were found; who could help them with food or accommodation; If government would provide assistance with funerals and if other schools would take in learners from schools that were damaged.

“These basic questions of survival and the necessities of life brought into sharp focus the responsibility that rests on the Government Communication and Information System as the centre of public communications in government.

“This is also a collective responsibility that is shared by all clusters, departments and entities that make up the government communication system,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za