Media release

Birth of new government communications order

18 May 1998

18 May 1998

Today will be recorded in history as the day on which the former South African Communication Service (SACS) - the information machine of the former apartheid government - was buried. In its wake, a new Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will be born when Dr Essop Pahad, Deputy Minister in the Office of the Deputy President, rises in Parliament for the Communications Budget Vote.

Unlike SACS, the GCIS draws its primary mandate from Section 16 of the Bill of Rights, which guarantees all citizens freedom of speech. The new organisation will attempt to ensure that dialogue between the South African government and its citizens is enhanced. It is recognised in the Reconstruction and Development Programme that an informed public is better able to take an active part in changing its life for the better.

The launch of the GCIS brings to fruition the recommendations of the Task Group on Government Communications (Comtask), chaired by Mandla Langa and commissioned by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki. Comtask consulted widely, having received 150 written submissions from South Africans, and visiting 19 countries. The thrust of its recommendations were approved by Cabinet in September last year.

The GCIS will focus its work on six broad priorities:

  • Establishing a coherent government communication system
  • Building a development information network to service grassroots needs
  • Developing an information strategy for Multi-purpose Communication Centres
  • Building relations with the media as communication partners
  • Encouraging media diversity, and
  • Improving the competencies of government communicators.

The launch of the GCIS will be celebrated country-wide at the following venues. Contact people have been identified for your convenience:

  • Parliament: Budget Vote - 14:00 (televised live) Reception - 18h00 for 18h30
  • Johannesburg: Ground Fl, 66 Small St, 12:30. Busi Mdaka, (011) 33 73141-6
  • Cape Town: 9th Floor, BP Centre, 16:00. Petra van Niekerk, (021) 21 5071-6
  • Bloemfontein: Omni-Centre, 1st Fl, 73 Aliwal St, 17:30. M Zondo, (051) 448 4504-6
  • Eastern Cape: State House, Marine Rd, Bisho, 17:00. P van Wyk, (041) 55 9141
  • Kimberley: Horse Shoe Motel Conference Centre, 18:00. M Nagel, (0531) 82 1378/9
  • Pietersburg: The Mall, c/o Vorster & Bucard St, 19:00. Alex Mutshekwane, (015) 291 4689
  • Mmabatho: Mmabatho Sun, Clubroom, 12:30. Fana Baganeneng, (0140) 81 5297-9
  • Nelspruit: Best Western Premier Lodge, c/o N4 & Granite St, 12:30. J Nkosi, (013) 753 2397
  • Durban: Auditorium, 8th Fl, Sagelife House, 21 Field St, 16:00. Deven Moodley, (031) 301 6787-9.

Portia Maurice-Mopp
Cell: 082 575 4132
Tel: 012 314 2108

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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