Ernest Mulibana is a deputy director at the department of environmental affairs, dealing with media and communications. He is responsible for developing strategies to educate South Africans about their constitutional rights and to mobilise their participation in ensuring the protection of our environment. Mulibana knows the role of public communication and he plays a critical part in ensuring the right message is delivered.
“The environment portfolio is entrusted to ensure that every South African has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing,” explains Mulibana.
“My main responsibility is to coordinate engagements between the national department of environmental affairs and members of the media. In promoting the work of the department and galvanising people of South Africa to embrace environmental protection while sustainably using the country’s natural resources, the message needs to be clearly communicated through media engagement, stakeholder relations and social media.”
Currently pursuing an MPhil in communication at the University of Pretoria, Mulibana is able to convert complex environmental matters into formats that are accessible to the right audiences. He understands the importance of engaging communities in environmental matters which have an impact on them.
Mulibana regards his greatest challenge as convincing all South Africans to do something to take care of the environment in which they live.
“There are people who, despite so much work to educate them about the importance of a clean environment for their health and protection, continue to litter and engage in activities that degrade the environment. People need to change their behaviour. They already know that properly disposing of their waste is the right thing to do. They already know that littering degrades the environment, yet our streets and public spaces are filthy.”
Mulibana’s work environment requires him to be flexible, innovative and proactive. The motto he lives by — “it can be done!” — is inspired by the life experiences he endured, growing up in a poor rural village in Limpopo.
“My philosophy is based on the premise that when one has the right mind, attitude and the burning desire, success is bound to be a reality, irrespective of circumstances.” — Linda Doke