Media practitioners and government communicators used Wednesday evening to bolster their working relationship at a networking session held on the eve of the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The session, which was co-hosted by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and partners Media24, Kagiso Tiso Holdings and Diageo, provided media an opportunity to interact with government communicators ahead of the SONA.
GCIS Acting Director-General Phumla Williams explained that the session provides fertile ground for media, as the watchdog, and government to fine-tune their working relationship.
"When we began this event, it was initially about addressing the concerns that media brought to us, as the GCIS, about difficulties they had in getting hold of [some] spokespersons, as they did not answer their phones. Over the years, we have found value in this engagement and partnership," said Williams on Wednesday evening.
Media24 Manager for Afrikaans News, Justin Langeveld, said the pre-SONA media networking session offers government and the media an opportunity to network and share information in an amicable setting before the big day.
Kagiso Tiso Holdings CEO Paballo Makosholo emphasised the importance of partnerships, which carry government's mandate forward and ultimately, that of society.
Turning his sights on the big day, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the President will touch on topical issues such as gender-based violence, corruption and the high unemployment rate amongst the youth.
"The President will not be done with his State of the Nation Address unless he deals with the question of unemployment, particularly among our youth," he said.
Mthembu called on the media fraternity to use the networking session for the greater good of the country.
"We must think about what [can be done] through this network for those who are worse off than ourselves," said Mthembu.