Switch-off for ra­dio public­ity pro­posal

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Thami Magubane

THE Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity wants to spend more than R500 000 on ra­dio air­time to al­low the mayor to tell the city’s “pos­i­tive sto­ries” and “pro­mote the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to the whole South Africa”.

The pro­posal, drafted by the city’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment, was tabled be­fore the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers dur­ing yes­ter­day’s exco meet­ing. Slammed by the op­po­si­tion, the item was later with­drawn by mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Sizwe Hadebe.

The pro­posal stated that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would pur­chase five-minute slots for in­ter­views with the mayor on Ukhozi FM over the next 12 months. This was to cost the coun­cil R558 691.

It was, how­ever, un­clear in the de­tails whether there would be one five-minute in­ter­view a month for 12 months or if there would be nu­mer­ous in­ter­views per month over the next 12 months.

The pro­posal was at­tacked by op­po­si­tion par­ties, who said in­stead of wast­ing money on “telling good sto­ries” the city should rather fo­cus on creat­ing good sto­ries, start­ing with in­vest­ing the money in clean­ing the city.

The pro­posal, which largely fo­cused on ex­tolling the virtues of the ra­dio sta­tion and was scant on de­tails as to the value the cam­paign would add to the city, stated that Ukhozi FM is a well-known na­tional ra­dio sta­tion with more than 7 mil­lion lis­ten­ers.

It said the sta­tion catered to peo­ple rang­ing from young to old, but specif­i­cally the youth, re­in­forc­ing a sense of pride and cul­ture in the young peo­ple of South Africa.

“Peo­ple in Pietermaritzburg lis­ten to Ukhozi and there­fore the mes­sage that will be com­mu­ni­cated by the mayor will come across to every Msun­duzi ci­ti­zen. The whole of South Africa will know about Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and its vi­sion and the mis­sion,” it said.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties said the pro­posal was a point­less ex­er­cise and a waste of mu­nic­i­pal re­sources.

“The com­mu­ni­ca­tions unit told us we have our own in­ter­nal news­pa­per that has a very wide reach for the cit­i­zens of this mu­nic­i­pal­ity. They told us they did not even want to use the lo­cal com­mer­cial and com­mu­nity news­pa­pers be­cause our news­pa­per would be used to tell the city’s pos­i­tive sto­ries,” said DA exco mem­ber Jerome Ma­jola.

IFP coun­cil­lor Thi­na­sonke Ntombela said: “There is no point in speak­ing to the whole na­tion when what you want is to be ad­dress­ing your lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

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