The department of telecommunications & postal services (DTPS) wants corporate sponsors to help it pay for events meant to schmooze journalists and improve its public image, The Star reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper said the department had accidentally e-mailed a concept document on engaging with the media — to the media.
“The reputation management of the department is currently at its lowest and journalists do not trust the department,” The Star quoted the document as saying.
“We need to gain the trust of the media and the sector if we are to achieve the departmental goal of being the global thought leader in the ICT sector.”
But the department is reportedly short of cash, and so wants corporate sponsors to stump up R200 000 for meetings in three cities.
The newspaper said sponsors would get speaking slots, branding and other benefits in return.
“There is a lot of confusion in the media and the public as to what the work of the department is and the difference between [the]DTPS and the department of communications,” the document reportedly says.
President Jacob Zuma split the old department of communications in two last year, creating the DTPS, led by former state security minister Siyabonga Cwele, and a new communications department under Faith Muthambi. The move was met with widespread condemnation.
Despite a large number of policies that require its urgent attention, including producing a final policy on the allocation of spectrum for broadband, the DTPS has achieved little of substance in the past year.
The department appears to have become paralysed over battles between director-general Rosey Sekese and a number of her deputy directors-general.
Earlier this month, TechCentral revealed that DDG Themba Phiri had been axed after a disciplinary hearing, which Phiri claimed was conducted in his absence.
Phiri has accused Sekese of “abuse of power” and attempting to “settle political scores” over her suspension by former communications minister Dina Pule in 2013.
Sekese fired another deputy, Gift Buthelezi, in March. Buthelezi is now challenging his dismissal through an arbitration process.
The department is also facing two probes by the Special Investigating Unit. The first involves the department’s deal with Media Corner, a media agency, which was paid millions to advertise South Africa’s digital migration programme.
Democratic Alliance MP Marian Shinn said in March that disciplinary charges against 15 staff members had been initiated without this SIU report being completed and without staff members having access to the report.
A second SIU investigation is into alleged serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the former department of communications and improper or unlawful conduct by its officials, including unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money.
A departmental spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media