Tiyani Rikhotso

Director of Communications, Department of Transport

Childhood dreams of being an on-air presenter directed Tiyani Rikhotso towards media studies, political reporting and, ultimately, towards his love for politics.

Today, as chief director of communications and stakeholder relations for the department of transport, Rikhotso is fully immersed in all communication matters for what is certainly one of the most active departments in government.

“I am passionate about what I do. I see working for the government more as a calling than a means to make a living. Unlike our counterparts in the private sector who are driven by profits and other commercial interests, civil servants are in the business of changing lives. We are not accountable to a board of directors, but to an entire nation. It is the understanding that we are at the coalface of changing people’s lives for the better that drives me,” says Rikhotso.

Currently chairperson of the Havana City ANC Youth League branch in Johannesburg North, Rikhotso sees his role as championing the cause of young South Africans.

He knows that communication forms the backbone of every successful operation, and says there was no better example of the importance of clear communication than in the e-tolling debacle, a project in which Rikhotso was directly involved.

“It’s unfortunate that an advanced system such as e-tolling has been demonised in the fashion it has. Poor communication and lack of clarification when the project was first introduced are partly to blame for all that has gone wrong. Legally, however, it has stood strong in several courts, as all was done within the prescripts of the law.”

Rikhotso strongly believes that as policymakers, the government has a responsibility to come up with creative solutions for the socioeconomic challenges South Africa faces.

“We are a growing nation that needs to look beyond conventional methods for resolving challenges,” he says. — Linda Doke