Collins Chabane - GCIS budget vote

01 June 2011

1 June 2011

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee
Deputy Minister in The Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Honourable members
Honoured guests
Friends and comrades
Members of the media present
Ladies and gentlemen

I stand before you today, on the first day of June, which also marks the historic commemoration of Youth Month. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Soweto and related Youth uprising. June 16, 1976 has been engraved in the minds of all South Africans, and reminds us to take command of the values enshrined in our Constitution and in our daily lives. This day was denoted by the horrific murder of 12-year-old Hector Pieterson.

It is this harsh reality that reminds us of the oppressive past that allows us to appreciate our current democratic dispensation, where today we once again hail to all, that South Africa belongs to all who live in it!

South Africa’s liberation struggle was marked by its success in mobilising people even under strenuous environments for the better good. Over seventeen years into democracy, it has become necessary for people to once again be mobilised for the national good. Despite the challenges that came after 1994, South Africa has the muscle of a legitimate government supported by a people-centered government communication system.

This budget presentation takes place against the background of a positive mood that prevailed during the successful third democratic local government elections that saw millions of South Africans participating.

It is against this backdrop that we tabling the budget of an organisation that not only gives expression to the rights in the Constitution, but one that is also key to developing each South African into an active socio-economic agent that contributes towards a functional democracy, the GCIS. In my address I will focus on the work done by GCIS and Deputy Minister, Dina Pule will address you on the work of the International Marketing Council(IMC) of South Africa and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA).

At the Cabinet Lekgotla in January the President declared that communication should be prioritised. We were also mandated by Cabinet to assert the presence and voice of government in a highly contested communication environment. We were further mandated to energize all government departments in this effort and our ability to inform society should continue to be at the centre of our work.

The resounding mandate given to Government by two-thirds of our people, highlights government communication as a critical link between government’s implementation of its programme and the empowerment of citizens through the dissemination of relevant government information and initiatives. This gives life to government's theme: Working together we can do more.

Honourable Members, we have developed a National Communication Strategy for 2011 to 2014 which provides implementation support to government’s “Change Agenda” which uplifts the five national priorities into  five  key communication campaigns. This strategy is before Cabinet.

These key campaigns centre around the delivery of improved quality of basic education; provision of healthcare for all South Africans; decent work to ensure sustainable livelihoods; reduction of crime and rural development.

We have in the past led campaigns working together with the relevant departments, without necessarily taking over the day-to-day functions of their communication units. I will briefly highlight the energy efficiency campaign and the inclusive economy campaign.

GCIS successfully partnered with the SABC to promote economic opportunities created by government - which mainly targeted Living Standard Measure between 3 and 7 as potential beneficiaries. In this thirteen episode series called Rize Mzansi, government reached over 1, 6 million viewers per series.

Following the national electricity crisis of 2008, we led the energy efficiency communication on behalf of government. For the 2010/2011 financial year, the campaign focused mainly on strengthening direct stakeholder relationships and internal communication programmes. An electronic newsletter was launched and a number of media round-tables were held on various key national energy issues. A four part educational series ran on e-TV and a micro-site on energy efficiency was created which is fully operational. In addition, the national advertising campaign was implemented which heightened awareness on energy efficiency.

Honourable Members, in heeding the President’s call for a professional cadre of public servants; we have developed communication platforms, which are designed to attain a higher national interest of an empowered citizenry. One such platform is the Public Sector Manager magazine, which is edited, layed-out and designed internally. This platform provides an opportunity for the public service to share best practices which support government’s outcome based approach of developing a performance-oriented public service.  The magazine is also available online.

We continue to implement Capacity Building programme for government communicators and political principals. This programme empowers government messengers with the tools to effectively develop and disseminate government messages. We have also conceptualised, on request, a series of tailor-made communication sessions, including media engagement training, communication strategy development and development communication.

To date, we have delivered over twenty five media training sessions to national, provincial and local government communicators and conducted two workshops with government communicators, from twenty six departments, on how to develop successful communication strategies.

In professionaling government communication, we have put in place plans for the implementation of a National Training and Capacity-Building Programme. We also successfully organised forums where best practices and issues of common interest were discussed by communicators in the system with the aim of improving the quality of our communications.

In its quest to provide strategic leadership in communication and coordinating a responsive government communication system, GCIS is strengthening existing programmes and putting in place key interventions.

Honourable Members, we will support national, provincial and local government in developing and aligning all Government-wide communication strategies. This includes alignment of the Cluster Communication Strategies which provide a basis for visible and tangible outcomes of government’s implementation of its programme. We also monitor the implementation of these strategies.

Government’s share of voice in the media is not something that happens by chance but is informed by a deliberate strategy of being both proactive and reactive. During the World Cup, we piloted the dynamic mix of communication which proved to be extremely effective in terms of monitoring salient issues and responding rapidly.

This model ensured that communicators remain aware of the environment, prepared to engage, argue and defend government. We are in the process of rolling out a model of a proactive and responsive Media Management System which amalgamates policy and communication expertise in setting the public discourse agenda. This will ensure that accurate and prompt responses from government hold the media or public discourse space for the given issue.

We have also centralised government advertising unit to realise bulk media discounts. Success has already been recorded in the realignment of media buying from an outsourced to an in-house model. For this financial year, a total of 147 campaigns have been booked to the total value of R 163 million.

We plan to further professionalise the media buying system through an enhanced client management system and operational guidelines. We are also in the process of establishing a professional events and exhibitions unit. This will contribute towards executing government events professionally, from planning to look and feel. We have distributed over 11 million units of print information material. However, due to the poor uptake of our centralised distribution system by national departments, we plan to implement a client education and relationship management strategy to assist clients in understanding the benefits of centralised distribution.

To ensure that the Corporate Identity for government is adhered to we plan to conduct workshops with all three spheres of government in building a uniform Government Brand. This is as per the Cabinet resolution of 2004 for the establishment and roll-out of a uniform Corporate Identity (CI) for government.

Documenting the work of government is critical in raising the awareness of citizens and more broadly the international community. While we appreciate that content is key – we also know that a picture tells a thousand words. GCIS continues to successfully document and handle the increase in video and photographic coverage of the President and Deputy President as they lead the country. We are in the process of acquiring the technology to transmit footage directly to broadcasters from abroad and locations in and around the country. There are also plans to move towards high definition full digital recording capabilities.

Honourable Members, for us to be effective various techniques and styles must be adopted. In facilitating a targeted and measured communication approach that addresses the diversity of the South African population, we are designing and managing a segmentation research project to better understand the make-up of the South African population. Such understanding is important in determining “what to communicate” and “how to communicate” and “which platforms to communicate through”. We base our communication programme and platforms on empirical evidence through scientific communication research.

The State of Nation Address (SoNA) by the President is not just any other speech but sets the agenda for Government’s Programme of Action for the coming year and also highlighting key achievements and challenges. I am pleased to see that the number of people who viewed the speech increased year on year from about 2 million in 2009, to almost 4 million in 2010 and over 4 million in 2011 since it was changed to the evening.

A total of sixty eight (68) big screen events or communal viewing areas of the speech were arranged. Tertiary institutions, hospitals and correctional institutions were targeted as venues in some provinces. A total of 256 communal viewing outreach events took place which included pre, during and post the events.  A highlight activity was the screening event and service outreach at the Efata School for the Blind and Deaf in Mthatha which brought the President’s address to this important segment of our society.

In supporting and unpacking the Programmes announced by the President GCIS successfully organised and facilitated post State of the Nation Address Ministerial media briefings which featured all the government clusters. These briefings provided a critical platform for Ministers to articulate strategies and plans in the implementation of Government’s Programme of Action (PoA). The cluster briefings were also accompanied by a community radio phone-in programme on the 66 community radio stations. The collective reach of the 66 community radio stations targeted was 7 million listeners.

As a Government for all South Africans, we have to ensure that regardless of limitations and challenges, we serve all our people. In this spirit, we intend to reposition the bimonthly Vuk’uzenzele magazine, within the existing budget, into a monthly tabloid format that will enhance its reach and frequency. Vuk’uzenzele promotes access to information about government programmes and how to access the benefits of democracy. It has also brought about an important addition to government’s communication platforms, especially for people with the least access to media.

Currently, we produce 1.6 million copies of the magazines on a bimonthly basis. By using the existing budget for the magazine, we can publish a monthly tabloid and increase the print run to 1.7 million (the biggest in the country). The elimination of the one-month gap will allow for continuity as readers are better able to develop loyalty to the publication. The plan is to increase the print run to 2 million and go fortnightly as from 2012/13 moving forward.

On radio, research shows that radio remains the media platform with substantial reach. Information reaches audiences quickly, and to a large extent, in their home languages. GCIS has established the practice of hosting community radio phone-in programmes on community radio stations for major campaigns on Thursdays at six PM. It has been found to be impactful because it allows the community to interact with government officials and political principals.

Honourable Members, the Public Participation Programme is the outreach initiative by Government previously known as IzImbizo programme. Through this approach, government seeks to reinforce accountability and outreach to South Africans through continuous public and stakeholder engagements throughout the year.  This is a major platform that also seeks to include citizens in a more participatory approach towards the attainment of our developmental agenda.

We are mindful of the impact of social media across the world. Social media democratizes communication and enables people to provide up-to-the-minute feedback. Indeed, the democratization of the media marketplace places an even greater onus on government to ensure that its voice is heard and understood on its own terms.

To ensure that we remain relevant to the youth and indeed to the adult population that is active in the social media world, we have developed guidelines for government communicators’ to take advantage of these platforms. These guidelines are necessary to ensure that government does not lose its authority, voice and legitimacy and become just another voice in the social media space. We want to encourage members of parliament and the executive to also take advantage of these platforms as led by the President. 

Over and above the bi-weekly post-Cabinet Media Briefing, we plan to conduct bi-weekly briefings where senior government officials, including Directors General, can brief the media on programmes and strategies within their departments. GCIS also coordinates and monitors regular release of press statements and briefings by all government departments on key programmes and/or developments. This is to ensure longevity of government’s voice in public discourse.

We will also continue to engage with the South African National Editors Forum as government to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Turning to the budget, the spending focus over the MTEF period will continue to contribute to the creation of an informed, efficient, effective and development oriented public service by building communication partnerships with stakeholders. GCIS will also support the IMC’s rebranding projects that focus on marketing South Africa to the general South African public, as well as the efforts of the MDDA to enable access to the media by historically disadvantaged communities and individuals.

Expenditure for the department increased from R380, 9 million in 2007/08 to R550, 2 million in 2010/11, at an average annual rate of 13%. This was mainly due to funds devolved from the Department of Public Works for office accommodation; departmental activities in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World CupTM; government’s initiatives in the inclusive economy; additional capacity at provincial offices; the Energy-Efficiency Campaign; and the increase in transfer of payments to the IMC for the 2010 World Cup and CNBC Africa communication programmes.

Over the MTEF period, the expenditure is expected to increase from R550, 2 million to R552 million at an average annual rate of 0, 1%. The marginal growth is as a result of completion of activities in 2010/11 related to the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, the Energy-Efficiency Campaign, as well as the lack of adequate funding for the CNBC Africa communication programmes in the same year.

At the end of the financial year, R522 million (95%) was spent. The bulk of the saving of R27, 9 million (5%) relates to the following:

  • R16, 5 million that was allocated for the new GCIS Head Office Building as part of the Re Kgabisa Tshwane Project. This project was cancelled by the Department of Public Works. After consultation with National Treasury, GCIS entered into a new agreement with a service provider in respect of the construction of a new Head Office Building. The expected completion of the building is planned for April 2012. Bearing in mind that the funds will be spent in the 2011/12 financial year regarding the purchasing of furniture, additional security equipment, cabling, relocating cost, etc. National Treasury has agreed to roll over the funds to the 2011/12 financial year.
  • Earmarked funds of R6,039 million in respect of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, mainly due to some activities that we did not realise by year-end such as the expansion of the international research to other countries; a final technical report that needs final approval and which will have financial implications as well as the production of a coffee table book and DVD
  • R100 000 in respect of a cash sponsorship for the annual Government Communicators’ Awards Ceremony. National Treasury allocated the amount on the total budget of GCIS but due to the cancellation of the event, the funds were not deposited in the bank account of GCIS.
  • R3, 52 million in respect of Compensation of Employees. The saving occurred mainly as a result of a decrease in personnel cost and lesser performance bonuses.
  • R1,696 million, broken down as follows:
  • R608 000 in respect of communication activities around the State of the Nation Address (SONA)
  • R552 000 in respect of the printing and distribution cost of the Vuk’uzenzele magazine
  • R396 000 in respect of the Energy Efficiency Campaign (EEC)
  • R140 000 in respect of fix running cost such as transport, telephones, training, etc.

Over the medium term, the department receives additional allocations for:

  • improved conditions of service (R5, 3 million, R5, 5 million and R5, 7 million)
  • video and photography support to The Presidency (R1, 5 million, R1, 6 million and R1,7 million)
  • media relations (R1, 4 million in 2011/12 and 2012/13, and R1, 5 million in 2013/14)
  • developing communication personnel and the communication curriculum for communication personnel in government (R1, 9 million, R2, 1 million and R1 million).
  • the ratio of administrative costs to line-function programme costs is 1:4 and is expected to increase to 1:2 in 2013/14.

The GCIS has once again just closed its 2010/11 financial year with a record of 95% budget spent. A well managed budget execution.

The GCIS Budget for 2011/12 is R496 million, with IMC receiving an allocated share of R140 million and MDDA an allocation of R19 million.

The essence of Working together we can do more has begun to permeate all government work. GCIS has adopted a more measured approach to government communication, which will allow reflective baselines to be established. This will enable targeted interventions in the pursuit of an optimally functioning government wide communication system.

Government communication will continue to pursue a people-centred approach in partnership with various sectors of society in ensuring that all citizens become active participants in a functioning democracy, which secures a better life for all South Africans.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank the out gone Chief Executive Officer of GCIS Mr Themba Maseko for his sterling work at the helm of this organisation and wish him well with his future plans

I offer a word of warmest congratulations to Mr Jimmy Manyi and his GCIS team for the impressive way they have run this crucial government operation.

Finally, I commend the GCIS Budget to the House.

Thank you.

Media enquires:
Harold Maloka
Cell: 082 847 9799

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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