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Research Explores Communications in Government

April 20, 2015

Dr Bhoowan Singh (centre) celebrating with his wife Irene and supervisor Dr Mogie Subban.
Dr Bhoowan Singh (centre) celebrating with his wife Irene and supervisor Dr Mogie Subban.

Deputy Manager in the Communications Unit at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation, Dr Bhoowan Prakash Singh, was awarded a Doctor of Administration degree for his thesis titled: “The Impact of Strategic Communication Policy on Service Delivery and Good Governance within the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation”. 

The study explored the design and formulation of communication policy within government, focusing on the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation.  

Singh emphasised the importance of Batho Pele, a code of conduct for government employees. ‘The practice of Batho Pele is to promote transparency and consultation among fellow employees as well as between government and its stakeholder beneficiaries. 

‘The need for a communication policy to bring order to this sphere of administration is thus of great consequence. The area of policy formulation comprises formulation of new policy and the review of existing policy.’

The findings of the research study include the following:

- A policy is essential to prescribe the workings of the Department to ensure communication authority and accountability

- Transparency and information-sharing are great mitigators of risk

- Poor information flow promotes an active grapevine, and vice-versa

- The need to embrace eGovernance, which includes maximising the use of the Internet, focusing on the use of the website and Intranet as critical data banks. This also embraces the use of social media as an effective communication tool for government in the current era 

- Strategic communication actions the Principles of Batho Pele and thus promotes good governance.

Singh balanced pursuing his PhD and career while overcoming challenges relating to gathering information and access to current literature. ‘This research study was made possible by many late nights of hard work, sacrifice of weekends and holidays, and the regular “gentle chiding” of my academic supervisor and taskmaster, Dr Mogie Subban,’ he said. 

He acknowledged Subban for ‘lasting the academic journey with me. Her meticulous guidance, patience, mentorship, critical eye and constant availability as support must be lauded. She is a tremendous asset to her School and the University and, as displayed in my instance, a resourceful guide and fountain of knowledge who will always be appreciated.’

He thanked his family for their unwavering support. ‘To my dearest wife, Irene, and to my precious daughters Shivani, Sheromi and Sayuri, a heartfelt thanks to you for allowing me the space and latitude to complete a milestone I’d like to leave as motivation to you.  

‘Such a challenging feat could never have been successfully accomplished without the support you provided me during this arduous journey, and which truly made this academic journey a family one.’ 

Singh said a book he had authored five years ago, When the Chalk is Down, served as inspiration for pursuing his PhD. ‘This book is a dedication to the struggles of my parents in Tongaat, and inevitably so too is this graduation.’ 

Subban congratulated Singh on his achievements: ‘It was indeed a pleasure to have supervised a student of your calibre. I wish you all the best.’ 

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