The South African Local Government Association (Salga) will soon introduce their first-ever local government news agency ahead of its annual national conference from November 28 to December 1, reports the Fourways Review.
Salga advises and supports policy analysis, research and monitoring, knowledge exchange and provides support to local government.
Tahir Sema, Salga’s communications manager, said it would be a high-powered news agency on behalf of local governments in South Africa.
“The Local Government News Agency is a 22-member newsroom operated by nine Salga provincial and national communicators, nine media trainees and the editor, who will oversee the flow of content,” he said.
Sema explained the team would be divided into various categories and beats. Some will act as reporters and photographers, while others will focus on multimedia and social media, which is becoming a highly contested space.
“The output of the news agency will be conference bulletins, online news, social media content, media releases and knowledge products.”
Sema said the agency would produce informative and newsworthy stories to enhance the general profile of the association and local government.
“But most importantly, it will serve to inform and educate the public and members about the good [stories] of local government. This will give rise to an alternative narrative, one that is beneficial to local government projects.”
The main aim of the news agency, said Sema, was “to tell the good stories of local government and to profile some of their disruptive innovations”.
Salga made headlines after City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba announced the City would not fund the national conference.
The news that Mashaba would no longer provide funding for the association came shortly after it was announced that African National Congress Joburg chairperson and previous City mayor, Parks Tau would chair the Gauteng conference thereof. Tau has since also been appointed as the president of the United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), the world body for local government.
The association responded by saying the City had been one of the most consistent and meaningful players in its affairs since its establishment and remained confident it would continue to occupy its rightful place. It said it would prioritise engagement with the City in the hopes that it would remain within Salga’s affairs.
– Caxton News Service