Collins Chabane - GCIS Budget Vote

10 May 2012

10 May 2012

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee
Deputy Minister in The Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Honourable Members
Honoured Guests
Friends and Comrades
Members of GCIS management and staff present
Members of the media present
Ladies and gentlemen

I feel privileged to present the 2012/13 Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Budget Vote in this House today.

Today marks a very special anniversary in our country's history, because it was on this day in 1994 that we witnessed the Inauguration of our first democratically elected President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

10th of May 1994 was also the first time black, green, gold, red, white and blue were united in a single banner to create the world's most colourful flag.

On that day, the nation's focus, and that of the world, was on the Union Buildings where Madiba took a historic oath that marked the advent of democracy in our country. I am sure that the house and the nation will join me in recognising this historic day.

In his State of the Nation Address this year President Jacob Zuma said and I quote: "The work done last year indicates that if we continue to grow reasonably well, we will begin to write a new story about South Africa—the story of how, working together, we drove back unemployment and reduced economic inequality and poverty."

The work to which President Zuma referred to three months ago is the ongoing accumulation of the daily deeds and the realisation of the actual reality for which President Mandela called for 18 years ago.

President Zuma's "New Story" is the underlying reality of how our country is changing and, in the context of this Budget Vote, it is also about government's effective narration of this changing – and changed – reality.

In our fight against the triple challenge of Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality, it is as important for government to create tangible, practical opportunities for a better life as it is to let people know, in the first place, that these opportunities exist.

Every house we build, every identity document we issue, every social grant we avail to someone in need and every business opportunity we create would be meaningless if no-one knew these opportunities existed – or how they could access them.

GCIS will take political principals and key figures in our administration into people's homes, into corporate boardrooms and into other stakeholder forums as part of ensuring that government presents its programmes directly to interest groups, and that government gets to hear directly from such interested parties.

Chairperson, over the coming years, GCIS will – in line with its vision of being "the Pulse of Communication Excellence in Government" - energise the nation around our development goals and help to maintain the confidence of investors and partners both locally and internationally.

GCIS executes its mandate in at least two ways, the first being in partnership with communicators across all spheres and in entities of government.

Secondly, GCIS itself commands a range of communication platforms and a stakeholder management system which feed off - and feed into - the communication programmes of departments.

This approach, Chairperson, was implemented with great energy and innovation in 2011/12, a year that the organisation spent 95 % of its allocated budget.

To guide communication in government GCIS developed the National Communication Strategy, which shaped the various communication activities of departments, provinces and entities, setting the basis for clarity, coherence and cohesion in government communication.

GCIS's effectively coordinated a multidisciplinary implementation of the department's communication services for campaigns prioritised in the 2011/12 Government Communication Programme.

Some of the campaigns GCIS supported and played a key role in coordinating include:

  • The launch of the Matola Memorial Monument built in Mozambique.
  • The COP17/CMP7 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
  • World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland
  • Water Week
  • 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children

GCIS enhanced the reach and frequency of the Vuk'uzenzele publication by successfully converting this important information source from a two-monthly magazine into a monthly, free newspaper, with a circulation of 1,7 million per edition. More than 50 million copies have been published in all official languages, including Braille.
Chairperson, Vuk'uzenzele is the only newspaper in the country that is published in braille.

This was the year in which GCIS took to another level the coordination of media bulk-buying as recommended by the Task Group on Communications – or Comtask – in 1996. This is to ensure we centralise and in-source government procurement of advertising and thus cutting out the "middleman" to maximise government's buying power.

GCIS has also in partnership with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs trained 655 officials including Mayors and their executive teams in 108 municipalities throughout the country. Media management training was also provided to 15 Heads of Missions deployed to various countries.

Chairperson, allow me to turn to the year ahead.

GCIS's primary role is to provide strategic leadership in government communication and coordinate a government communication system that ensures that the public is informed about government's policies, plans & programmes.

In 2012/13, GCIS will focus its resources to service its corporate strategy and facilitate the implementation of the National Communication Strategy.

The national strategy remains focused on the five key priorities of government, with an added dimension being that of popularising the extensive public infrastructure development campaign launched by President Jacob Zuma this year.

GCIS has set itself a number of key strategic objectives that address internal efficiencies and external impact.

One objective is that of building people, products and processes and a reliable knowledge base to ensure an effective government communication system. This entails:

  • Strategic leadership and support in government communication;
  • Media monitoring, research surveys & analysis;

GCIS is also committed to maintaining a well-functioning communication system that proactively informs and engages various publics. Features of this approach are:

  • Adherence to government communication standards;
  • Alignment of messages across the spheres of government;
  • Building an empowered citizenry through sustained communication of government policies, plans & programmes;
  • Building and maintaining stakeholder partnerships;

As I have previously indicated, GCIS will also entrench an efficient and effective production and advertising agency for government, focused on cost-effectiveness and impact of messaging.

Internally, GCIS will maintain responsive, cost-effective, compliant and business-focused corporate services with emphasis on:

  • Attracting and retaining highly skilled human capital;
  • Efficient and effective information technology infrastructure and systems;
  • Effective strategic management processes and procedures;
  • Professional internal audit services;
  • Proactive, responsive, compliant and cost effective finance, supply chain & facilities management.

Finally, GCIS will work with departments, clusters and entities to ensure that government's image and that of the State at large is projected, defended and maintained. This will involve:

  • Managing government's corporate identity;
  • Continuous measurement of public perception;
  • Professionalising the government communication system, and
  • Popularising the programme of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission

Chairperson, in the coming year, GCIS's key deliverables include the following:
We will launch a project focusing on 20 Years of Democracy, with a view to mobilising government and the nation at large in the build-up to the marking in 2014 of two decades of democracy.

Just more than 20.4 million copies of Vuk'uzenzele will be produced, with over five thousand copies available to Braille users.

120 000 copies of Public Sector Manager Magazine will be produced. This will be supplemented quarterly by GovComms, a newsletter-style publication focused on communication practices across government.

Media assessment reports will be produced daily to inform the work and agility of our Rapid Response. In addition, at least reports analysing the communication environment as it relates to clusters will be produced.

40 000 copies of the South Africa Yearbook, 20 000 Yearbook Pocket Guides and 4 000 DVD versions will be made available to public libraries, schools and other institutions.

Around 3 000 development communication projects aligned to the communication programme of government will be implemented on various platforms such as community media, seminars, workshops, Public Participation Programmes, door-to-door visits and Thusong-driven campaigns.

A special focus will be on the "achievements of local government campaign", a planned community radio approach where elected local officials will be able to provide feedback on achievements in their Municipal Turnaround Strategies.

GCIS will digitise approximately 3000 hours' worth of video footage of government recorded over the years. This footage is used to develop GCIS products and to share with public and private broadcasters.

Based on baselines in recent years, this agency will produce approximately 2 000 communication products in partnership with various departments and entities of government.

GCIS will lay the foundations for a recognised, credit-bearing qualification in communications in the Public Sector by convening an academic symposium with at least 10 geographically representative academic institutions in partnership with Palama.

Chairperson, GCIS will make one of its most important investments in 2012/13 with new headquarters in Hatfield, Pretoria, which will be ready for occupation a year from now.

During the coming year, R50million will be spent on this project, which will keep GCIS close to clients and stakeholders while providing staff with a much-needed upgrade in facilities that are vital for morale and creative energy.

GCIS will maintain oversight of the Media Development and Diversity Agency MDDA and ensure that the transfer payments made to this entity enables it to carry out operations in promoting local media development and diversity.

Chairperson, over the coming MTEF period, the expenditure is expected to increase to R417 million at an average annual rate of 4.6% which is slightly below the projected rate of inflation. The increase is on compensation of employees, which is projected to grow to R195.8million over the medium term at an average annual rate of 5.5%,in line with inflationary projections.

The R19.5 million increase in expenditure on goods and services over the medium-term relates to the increased print run and production costs of Vuk'uzenzele newspaper, as well as lease payments in respect of a new head-office.

GCIS has taken a strategic decision to support the President and Deputy President with video and photography during their international engagements. This has led to an increase in budget of over the medium term.

Over the medium-term, the department receives additional allocations for improved conditions of service (R3, 5 million, R3, 8 million and R4, 3 million per annum respectively) and office accommodation and costs related to the new head office building, to the tune of R50 million.

The GCIS Budget for 2012/13 is R429 million, with MDDA receiving an allocation of R20 million.

This budget is there to ensure that citizens are fully informed about government's programme and how it can change their lives, and that they have opportunities to interact with government.

This is a small price that generates huge expectations among the people of our country and its leadership.

Chairperson, another component of our work is Brand South Africa.

Brand South Africa's mission is to build and manage South Africa's nation brand reputation to enable it to strengthen the country's global competitiveness.

During the year under review, Brand South Africa succeeded in doing the following;

It was in the same year that we formally changed the name of the International Marketing Council (IMC) to Brand South Africa to keep it in line with its mandate.

It was also in the same year, after intense consultation and research we have managed to secure a new pay-off line accepted and approved by all key stakeholders in our country, "Inspiring new ways". This is derived from the brand essence "Inspiring new and different ways". This is to ensure that we remain relevant and competitive, in this dynamic global environment. This new pay off line carries a message of who we are and what we stand for.

We have also noted improvements in perception scores about our country based on the following Brand SA pillars: diversity, Ubuntu, possibility, sustainability and innovation. The launch of domestic campaign called "Play Your Part"(PYP) has been a success. Play Your Part is a campaign responsible for domestic mobilisation of South Africans encouraging them to play their part in creating a positive social change. Amongst others achievements, the following are the highlights for the year:

  • A 13 part TV series on SABC 1 during the period over October till December 2011 showcasing ordinary South Africans performing extraordinary things.
  • Launch of the Quality Learner Teacher Campaign in collaboration with the Department of Education, with the aim of identifying underperforming schools and getting teachers and learners to play their part to improve the school performance.
  • Encouraging business to play their part, where Nestle adopted a school in Escourt.

The focus internationally is to positively influence and shape perceptions about South Africa amongst target audience. Being a member of BRICS provides a platform to engage and influence and this is evident in the World Economic Forum in Davos conference that took place in January 2012 where South Africa was profiled as a competitive investment destination. Overall the reputation scores have improved even in the African continent.

Chairperson, the Brand South Africa vote has been moved from GCIS to the Presidency with effect from the 1st of April 2012. The Presidency will present its budget vote on the 30 May 2012 where we will elaborate extensively on the work of this important entity.

In conclusion, Chairperson, I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Deputy Minister, Obed Bapela for his impactful leadership and strategic guidance to GCIS.

I would also like to thank the Portfolio Committee for its vigilance and its support for the work of this important institution of government.

I would also like to thank the CEO, Jimmy Manyi, and the management and staff of GCIS for the sterling work performed in a very dynamic, challenging and at times, under-resourced, environment.

Eight days from now – on the 18th of May – we will mark 14 years since GCIS was formally launched and we can look back with pride on the achievements of this department.

I commend this budget to this House in the interest of telling the new story of South Africa and to fulfill what President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation Address in 2010 and I quote "The defining feature of this administration will be that it knows where the people live, understands their needs and responds faster. Government must work faster, harder and smarter"

I thank you.


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