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What to say during a crisis – what not to say

What to say during a crisis – what not to say

Crisis management is a complex skill dependent on the input of many players. With a natural emergency, coping strategies are fairly plain, but when a company has to steer through a crisis, the number of uncontrolled variables, makes crisis management a high-risk undertaking.
At a special two-day Master Class to be presented in Walvis Bay by communications expert Dr Chris Skinner, he will focus on best practices for crisis avoidance, communication during crisis and mitigation strategies. The class will be held on 14 and 15 April.
The type of crisis companies have to be prepared for can range from natural disasters, to technological breakdown, workplace violence, industrial accidents and public embarrassment.
Crises are unplanned events that directly or potentially threaten a company’s reputation; the environment; the health, safety or welfare of employees; and the health, safety or welfare of citizens in communities surrounding a plant. The benefits of a disaster and crisis management plan include preventing crises before they happen, dramatic enhancement of crisis response time, correction of operational weaknesses and overall reduced costs resulting from crises.
Quoting two American authorities, the Director of SAC Corporate Communications, Cecilia Pretorius said every organization no matter how large or small, needs scientific, operational risk assessments for effective crisis communication plans.
The Master Class teaches delegates both theory and practice of Disaster Management focussing on issues management and crisis communication. The syllabus follows the outline of the Master Class presented at the World Public Relations Forum in Nairobi in November 2015 where delegates shared their own experiences and came up with solutions to the challenges they faced within their own organisations.
Dr Skinner uses a framework based on a doctoral study of the South Durban Basin, one of the most polluted areas in South Africa where crises erupted frequently and persistently. He also works closely with the disaster management team at the Umbogintwini Industrial complex which is the largest chemical manufacturing plant in South Africa.
Dr Skinner is the co-author of the best selling “Handbook of Public Relations” now in its 11th edition as well as “Disaster Management: A guide to issues management and crisis communication”. Each Master Class participant is provided with a copy of the latter together with electronic copies of other case studies.
On the local front, he works closely with SAC Corporate Communications and Pretorius. Speaking from experience in her 30-year career of strategic communications, she said often insufficient attention is given to crisis avoidance and mitigation with a lack of synergy between the public relations, risk management and strategic planning departments. This lack of preparedness is equally pervasive in the private and in the public sector.
“Taking two days out for the Master Class from the usual daily operations, is an investment no organisation can not afford not to make as due diligence and preparedness can avert potential loss of lives, revenue, reputation and stakeholder confidence which takes many years to build up again once damaged,” she said.

About The Author


Today the Typesetter is a position at a newspaper that is mostly outdated since lead typesetting disappeared about fifty years ago. It is however a convenient term to indicate a person that is responsible for the technical refinement of publishing including web publishing. The Typesetter does not contribute to editorial content but makes sure that all elements are where they belong. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.