Letters

Manyi made enemies of the media

Letters

"An end of an error," I suggested as a newspaper headline and the journalists I was with immediately agreed.

Jimmy Manyi. (David Harrison, M&G)

I hadn't mentioned anyone by name, but the media and communication practitioners knew exactly who I was referring to.

As a journalist-turned-government-communicator, I have been following the developments at the Government Communication Information Systems with a hawk's eye since the appointment of Jimmy Manyi as Cabinet spokesperson and GCIS head.

It was announced on Monday that his contract would not be renewed.

When the decision was made to replace Themba Maseko with Manyi as the face and voice of government last year, many journalists protested.

Zapiro had a go at Manyi in the first of many cartoons on the Cabinet spokesperson and Manyi received a hostile media reception from the moment the announcement was made.

I read all the stories and editorials following his appointment. I wrote a piece with some tips, which I was hoping to send to him, but that did  not happen   who was I to advise my boss?

In that piece, I acknowledged that he was entering hostile territory and advised that he needed to keep a cool head and build relations with the media. Alas. The Cabinet spokesperson ended up in the news for all the wrong reasons. He made the news more than all the Cabinet ministers combined.

In some instances, I must admit, he was wronged. Those who worked with him credit him with a great management style.

But mostly he will be remembered for his run-ins with the media.

Instead of building good relations, he was forever fighting with journalists.

He was a liability in terms of government communication. He added petrol to the raging fires instead of extinguishing them.   Themba Sepotokele is a government communicator and media trainer

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