GCIS Annual Report 2004/2005

04 November 2005

4 November 2005

  1. Introduction
  2. Extending the System and Improving Performance
  3. New Products and Extended Platforms
  4. Administration
  5. Promoting Partnership and Participatory Democracy

I. Introduction

  1. We would like to express our appreciation of the opportunity to present our Annual Report for 2004-05 to the Portfolio Committee. It gives us, and the MDDA and IMC as entities for which GCIS has responsibilities, the opportunity to brief the committee on the use made of the budget for 2004-05 which Parliament approved, with your support.
  2. When introducing the debate on that budget the Minister in The Presidency observed that as for all of government, for government communication embarking on a new term of government at the beginning of the second Decade of Freedom "cannot mean business as usual. It is a time for more effective and faster implementation" a time that "requires a consolidation and intensification of work in progress, . . . . innovation and changes in mindset."
  3. The GCIS Annual Report sets out in detail how GCIS sought to apply this injunction in order to make important advances in government communication efforts, enhancing our capacity to meet the major challenges that still lie ahead in our endeavour to make a reality of the right of all citizens to information on government policies and actions.
  4. Our presentation will, in the brief time available, highlight some key initiatives during the period under review. Since we are halfway through the current financial year it is also an opportunity to share some activities undertaken within the strategic plan presented to the committee in March.
  5. During the period under review there has been special focus on expanding access to information about the opportunities democracy has brought. This has combined expansion of infrastructure and systems for access to government information with new products suitable for reaching especially the poor. Complementing these efforts has been attention to the capacity and performance of the government-wide communication system.


II. Extending the System and Improving Performance

  1. There has been a breakthrough in extending the government communication system to the local sphere, with a view to increasing public participation and access to information about provision of local services. The programme, involving SALGA, the dplg and GCIS, has moved faster than expected due to the response of provinces and municipalities.
  • Some 220 municipal communicators have received training.
  • Provincial workshops, to be concluded this month in the Western Cape, have developed a proposed framework for communication in the municipal sphere, including recommendations for capacity and structures, and an annual communication cycle interfacing with provincial and national cycles.

Though the bulk of the work is still to be done, the foundations have been laid for the completion of a task with which GCIS was charged on its formation in 1998, namely the building of a government-wide communication system across all spheres.

  1. The Multipurpose Community Centre programme continues to progress. By the end of 2004 the number of MPCCs was 65, beyond the target of 60 set in Government's Programme of Action for 2004, and preparation for the second-generation MPCCs was under way.
  • Since then 12 more MPCCs have become operational bringing the total figure to 77, with some districts/metros having more than one MPCC. Plans are in place to establish MPCCs in four Districts to meet the First Generation objective of 1 MPCC in each district.
  • To help improve service delivery, and to inform the business plan for the programme, the annual MPCC evaluation workshop later this month will be considering the results of research at 18 MPCCs that have been operational for more that 3 years.

Future perspectives will be informed by a review of MPCC funding options being undertaken with National Treasury and the dplg, as well as by what was gained from a study tour in September to Brazil to learn from that country's experience in integrated service delivery

  1. The Batho Pele Internet Gateway for which GCIS now has responsibility is being used as an integral part of government communication, along with the 1020 Batho Pele Call centre. This one-stop portal for information about government services assists those who help the public with access to information about government services, including MPCCs, Community Development Workers and relevant community based organisations and NGOs. To further capacitate these intermediaries, and citizens who directly access Gateway, its content is being translated into all official languages
  2. Two initiatives undertaken to enhance the capacity and standards of government communication can be highlighted.
    1. The second intake of the Academy of Government Communication and Marketing has now completed its course, and there is continuing interest amongst communicators to benefit from this joint initiative of GCIS, Unilever, the Nelson Mandela-Rhodes Foundation, implemented at the School of Public and Development Management at the University of the Witwatersrand. The communicators who took the course this year - from national, provincial and local government and some parastatals -are awaiting their results - the successful students will receive their certificates at the annual Government Communicators Awards in December
    2. As suggested by the Portfolio Committee, a survey has been done amongst journalists on their perceptions of government communicators and the communication system. We have just received the report and are studying it to see what improvements can be made in our working relationship with the media. Suffice it to say for the meanwhile, that the media account of government communications is a balanced one, combining recognition of progress with some incisive criticism!


III. New Products and Extended Platforms

  1. Product innovations during the financial year under review, as previously reported, included a mass publication on economic opportunities, published during 2004 in all languages in a popular style and disseminated through workshops across the country. The multimedia campaign to popularise the Programme of Action for 2004 included for the first time a photo story account of the programme, serialised in newspapers with the widest reach amongst the poor. Complementing the latter has been the publication of the Programme of Action on the Government Website and the two-monthly update on implementation, coupled with briefings of the media by Ministerial clusters.
  2. Recent fruits of the efforts to extend the reach of information about opportunities include the current television series produced in partnership with the SABC and the launch, also in October, of the popular government magazine, Vuk'uzenzele!
    1. Azishe ke! Opportunity Knocks is broadcast on Saturday mornings on SABC 2 at 9.30 a.m. The series shows real stories of ordinary people who have accessed economic opportunities created by government programmes, to inspire and raise public awareness of opportunities and how to access them. At the same time a tender has just been issued for the update of the publication; and interactions with development finance institutions are eliciting contributions towards the sustainability of this programme.
    2. The launch of Vuk'uzenzele brings a major addition to the platforms for communicating information about the opportunities of democracy and how to access them. While written for all, it is aimed in particular at those with least access to the media and the distribution of the one million copies is reaching into new areas.
    3. Integrated with these new products is the promotion of the Batho Pele Gateway and 1020 Call Centre. Readers and listeners can call 1020 for further information on how to access opportunities they read or hear about in the magazine or TV.
    4. Public response to the TV series and Vuk'uzenzele, through letters and calls to 1020, indicate that they are fulfilling a public need for information and communicating the message of partnership between public and government in programmes to create opportunities and fight poverty. Research is being done to help improve quality and ensure a match with what readers expect.
  3. Contributing to public access to information about government activities and programmes is the growth of the government news agency Bua News Service. Though started mainly as a service to community media, uptake of Bua News material by mainstream media has been increasing. Partnerships with internet news sites have seen a recent upswing in use of BuaNews articles in this medium. The service is contributing to wider international coverage through partnerships and co-operation agreements with international or foreign agencies. These include the Smart News Network International (SNNI) which ensures exchange of news between countries in Africa (including Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe) and Malaysia; Prensa Latina, the Iranian agency IRNA and the Xinhua news agency. Participation of GCIS in international conferences such as the World Congress of News Agencies, the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies and Inter-Press Service provided opportunities to highlight the need to enhance the coverage of Africa in international media and to build relations to promote this...


IV. Administration

  1. We have in the past year continued to pay unremitting attention to effective and efficient administrative support to the core functions of GCIS. Such support includes information technology, human resource management, procurement and financial administration. A measure of the dedication with which these functions were performed is the unqualified report (without even Emphasis of the Matter) from the Auditor-General, contained in this Annual Report.
  2. The budget for the financial year 2004/05 of R203 149m included allocations to the MDDA and IMC of R7,0m and R65,9m respectively. The MDDA allocation, with the agreement of National Treasury, was as in the previous year transferred in a single tranche at the beginning of the financial year, and quarterly reports to GCIS gave regular accounts of how the funds were being used. Given the size of the IMC allocation it was transferred in quarterly accounts. The GCIS budget included a once-off R10m to cater for the Ten Year Celebrations, two State of the Nation Addresses in one financial year, as well as the Inauguration of the President.
  3. 99,8% of the allocated budget was spent as intended, with the 0,2% under-expenditure related mainly to vacancies arising from staff turnover and the time it takes to fill posts, despite an efficient process in place.
  4. In last year's allocations for the MTEF period - as previously reported - the following additions were made to the baseline: R40,0 million, R28,5 million and R28,0 million for the respective years.

    MTEF Period 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08
    TOTAL 249 130 251 053 261 68



The additional funds will go towards: the learnership programme; Gateway; publication in the national telephone directory of contact details of Information Officers under the Public Access to Information Act; additional personnel and operational costs of communication officers particularly in local offices; the 16 Days of Activism campaign; and the popular government magazine Vuk'uzenzele.

  1. Details of the staff complement for 2004/05 are set out in the Annual Report. The GCIS current establishment comprised a total staff complement of 432. However for the financial year 2004/05 382 were funded and 50 unfunded. As at 31 March 2005 the number of filled posts was 365 of which 47,9% were Male and 52,1% Female. In management Males were 60% and Females 40%. With regard to people with disability, we were at 2,5%, compared with the government-wide target of 2% for 2005. In terms of racial composition the figures are as follows: 74% African, 14,7% White, 8,8% Coloured and 2,5% Indian.
  2. The location of the staff was as follows: At Head Office in MidTown Building in Pretoria 240; the Parliamentary Office 7; Regional Offices 118, which includes GICs and MPCCs.


V. Promoting Partnership and Participatory Democracy 

  1. The fostering of partnership of all of society in united action around common development goals is a focal theme in the work of GCIS. This included our involvement in the work of the International Marketing Council; support for the Media Development and Diversity Agency and engagement in the transformation of the advertising and marketing industry.
  2. The past year saw a breakthrough in the process towards the Transformation of the Advertising and Marketing Industry, initiated by this Portfolio Committee.
    1. As indicated in the July briefing to the Committee, an overarching Transformation Charter has been taking shape with support from a very wide spectrum of stakeholders. Consultations were extended to the end of October to cater for those recently joining - or rejoining - the process such as the Public Relations Institute of South Africa (PRISA) and the South African Marketing and Research Association (SAMRA). The Charter meets all the requirements of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act and Strategy and has been aligned to the latest codes. A ceremonial signing of the Charter is scheduled for 24 November - thereafter it will be submitted to the Minister of Trade and Industry for gazetting as a Section 9 Charter. It is expected that the Monitoring and Steering Committee will be phased out once a Sector Charter Council has been established.
    2. A joint government/industry team working on best-practice guidelines for procurement of marketing and advertising has completed its work. The issuing of the Guidelines to all departments should have a positive impact on government's handling of advertising and marketing bids and in particular on participation by small emerging Black-owned companies.
  3. During the period under review the imbizo campaign reached new heights and evolved in ways to engage more effectively in promoting solutions to identified problems. The two focus weeks during that time each exceeded the previous ones in terms of the number of events taking place, and outside of the formal campaigns the direct interaction of imbizo has increasingly become the norm of government communication.
  4. GCIS is currently contributing to several communication campaigns in which active partnership of all of society is critical to success.
    1. The annual international campaign - from 25 November to 10 December - of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children has been growing from strength to strength in South Africa over recent years as more and more South Africans from all sectors heed the call to strengthen the national movement against woman and child abuse. The additional allocation for the campaign in this year's GCIS budget is being used to boost communication and extend its reach. Amongst other things there will be a postcard pledge, the white ribbon, an SMS campaign and a Torch of Peace.
    2. GCIS is working with the Department of Public Service and Administration on a communication campaign to maximise participation of South Africans in the NEPAD Peer Review of our country. The aim is not just to create awareness but to promote cooperation among South Africans in reviewing progress made in the first decade of freedom, identifying areas for further improvement and agreeing on a national vision and programme to take our democracy to new heights.
    3. Looking further ahead the first steps have been taken, working with the IMC, towards a national communication partnership around the hosting of the 2010 World Cup, to ensure that we make the most, as a nation, of this unique opportunity for marketing our country, further strengthening national unity and accelerating development. This is being done in close consultation with the 2010 Local Organising Committee and with FIFA itself.
  5. The Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa is defining the major focus of communication for the coming period, as government joins hands with social partners to develop a comprehensive initiative that will raise the range of growth to higher levels, in a manner that benefits all South Africans. The encouraging trends in indicators of the national mood create a positive environment for communication, domestic and international, to explain the initiative and promote partnership for its implementation.


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