Good relationships key to executing my job- Phindile Vilakati

12 December 2023

Phindile Vilakati became a police officer in 2000 and has risen through the ranks to become the face and spokesperson of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS). In our latest civil servants’ blog, Vilakati talks about her work connecting the public with the police.

Government Communications (GC): “When did you join the Civil Service?”

Phindile Vilakati (PV): “I joined in November 1, 2000.”

GC: “What is your current job now and what does it entail?”

PV: “I am the Chief Police Information and Communications Officer in the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS). The scope of my job involves media liaison, creating and maintaining good relations between police and the public, ensuring a reputable corporate image of the Police Service, sensitizing members of the public as well as archiving information or material for future use.”

GC: “Before this role, what other positions did you occupy in the Service?”

PV: “I have worked as National Transport Officer (2005-2006); Traffic System Administrator (2006-2007); Criminal Investigation Officer (2004-2005); and in general duty as first reaction officer (2003-2004) and Traffic Officer (2001-2002).”

GC: “So far, what would you say the biggest highlight/achievement of your Civil Service journey has been?”

PV: “A lot has been achieved during this journey, including a very successful National Crime Dialogue which was held in 2020 where I was amongst the organisers, as well as communication during the COVID-19 global pandemic and the social unrest period which engulfed the country in 2021/2022.”

GC: “What is the biggest project that you have been involved in working for Government?”

PV: “There are quite a few which include working on the establishment of the Royal Eswatini Police Service Traffic Computer System; coordinating transport logistics for the 40/40 double celebrations and APAAM (SADC) Conference; drafting of the Traffic Regulations of the Road Traffic Act of 2007; being Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the Umhlanga ceremony, which was held during Eswatini’s hosting of the SADC Summit in 2016, as well as working on the drafting of the REPS communication policy.”

GC: “As Police PRO, you face questions from the media on a daily basis. How do you prepare yourself to always have the right information to share with the media and public on a daily basis?”

PV: “Firstly, I have created very healthy relations with police officers including Regional Commissioners, Regional Crime Branch Officers, Station Commanders, Desk Officers and the Police Information and Communications Office (PICO) staff and this ensures that I get first-hand information. I also ensure that our internal moderators are observant with social media platforms so that I can be able to verify any trending information as quickly as possible in readiness to respond.”

GC: “What do you love the most about working in Government?”

PV: “Government has very clear policies for regulating conduct and setting the blueprints on job performances. Furthermore, there is a very strong supporting system from the Police Executive that ensures quality on service delivery.”

GC: “What do you love the most about your job and profession?”

PV: “My main calling is serving people, so the fact that I work with people gives me joy. Every time a person calls or comes to me with any kind of problem, it satisfies me to see them leaving with a smile, even if I did not have what he/she needed.”

GC: “What would you say are some of the challenges that come with your job?”

PV: “Like any other department, equipment such as transport, up to standard computers and cameras remain a major challenge. The change from traditional media to social platforms also brings a challenge, especially with issues of accreditation and the regulation of the latter.”

GC: “What lessons have you learnt working for Government?”

PV: “I have learnt that working with government is very simple, as you align yourself with the policies.”

GC: “What advice would you have for someone who wants to work for Government?”

PV: “Do not come to work with Government if you don’t have a passion for people. The main purpose for the existence of Government is to serve the Nation.”

GC: “What are your aspirations for the future in Government?”

PV: “With the experience I have gained, I would love to be part of decision-making bodies in the future.”


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