A dedicated and innovative public servant who looked beyond the perimeters of his work is how the late government communicator Ronnie Mamoepa has been remembered by his former colleagues.
Colleagues shared fond memories of Mamoepa at the plaque unveiling ceremony at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Press Room, which was renamed after him in his honour on Friday.
The unveiling ceremony coincided with what would have been Mamoepa’s 59th birthday. In 2014, Mamoepa served as a spokesperson to then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa before his passing on 22 July 2017.
The renaming ceremony was attended by members of the Mamoepa family, the Mamoepa Foundation, friends, former colleagues of Mamoepa, journalists and government officials.
Imprinting Mamoepa’s legacy into the annals of history, his family, former colleagues and friends in the media fraternity called on communicators to honour Mamoepa by broadening their scope and thinking outside the box.
“The best thing each person can do in honour of my father is to do what he did to the last day of good health – serve, show up and be committed.
“He did the hard work wrote the press releases, called the journalists and went to the Minister and the President and convinced them of what needs to be done,” said Mamoepa’s son Olefile.
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu delivered the keynote speech at the ceremony, where he lauded Mamoepa’s work ethic and respect for those around him.
“The reason Ronnie Mamoepa was a great communicator is he was a revolutionary with content. He understood where we came from as a country. He respected everyone, including those who worked under him,” said the Minister.
Acting Director-General of the GCIS, Phumla Williams said the naming of the GCIS Press Room after Mamoepa served as a symbol of remembrance and honour for his hard work and dedication as a civil servant and government communicator.
Mamoepa’s illustrious work and passion to serve began when he was only 18-years-old when he was arrested for the first time and banished to Robben Island.
In 1986, he was detained under the State of Emergency Act. He joined the South African Communist Party’s underground structures after his release in 1987.
His career as a journalist and communicator did not deter him from working within the structures of the Mass Democratic Movement, the Atteridgeville-Saulsville Residents Organisation, the United Democratic Front and the African National Congress.
In 1994, he became a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. In 1999, when Thabo Mbeki became a President, Ronnie became Presidential spokesperson.
He joined the Department of Home Affairs in May 2009, and became Deputy Director-General and Head of Communications in 2011.