GCIS budget vote 2007


27 March 2007
 

Introduction

  1. We would like to thank the Portfolio Committee on Communications for this opportunity to present our strategic plan for the period 2007-10.
  2. More than ever before, our planning is focused across the whole three year period, and beyond. Our perspectives, our priorities and major campaigns, are defined principally by medium to long-term programmes of government: amongst them, the mandated targets for 2014; AsgiSA targets for 2010 and beyond; the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup; the imminent finalisation of a five-year comprehensive strategic plan to combat HIV and AIDS; and the five year strategic agenda for local government
  3. We are also just past the mid-point in this government's term of office, and so as well as looking forward three years our presentation also looks back over the past three years or so.
  4. Over the past few years GCIS and the agencies for which it is responsible, have received increases in their base line funding. This is also true of the proposed budget for the medium term expenditure period 2007-10, in ways that we will detail. The critical support of this committee has contributed both to the development of our plans and to that expansion of resources for meeting government communication needs and public information needs. We trust that you will find our plans such as to merit the proposed budget.

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Review and Plans for 2007 and the Medium Term

  1. This government took office in 2004 with an increased mandate for further and faster transformation; and greater consensus around development goals - in particular the halving of poverty and unemployment by 2014. In that context four communication challenges for the Second Decade of Freedom were identified. They have guided the work of GCIS and the government communication system since then and will do so during the period of our Strategic Plan 2007-10.

Building communication partnership

  1. One priority is the building of a framework of communication partnerships informed by an overarching vision uniting all of society around common development goals, to promote a social partnership that can take the country to a faster development trajectory with a growing economy that benefits all
  2. Partnership of government and society has therefore been a driving principle of communication. It is reflected in content that seeks to unite all of society in practical action towards common development goals. And it has informed the establishment of several communication partnerships.
  3. Fostering the Partnership against AIDS has been a commitment of GCIS since the Partnership was established in 1998. Contributing to its rebuilding in recent months has been a major priority. This has included the establishment of a communication partnership of government and civil society which will be of critical importance for an effective campaign of Information, Education and Communication to support implementation of the comprehensive National Strategic Plan for 200-2011 once it is finalised by the South African National AIDS Council.
  4. The vulnerability of women and children to abuse also renders them more vulnerable to HIV infection. This creates linkages between the partnership against AIDS and the partnership of civil society and government which built on 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children into a foundation for the 365 Days Programme & National Action Planinitiated on International Women's Day a few weeks ago.
    1. CIS has been allocated special responsibility to provide communication support to these campaigns led by the Deputy Minister of Provincial & Local Government, and the budget allocation for 2007-08 again includes an amount R3m specifically for the 16 Days of Activism communication campaign.  This campaign will make a significant contribution to the building of a mass campaign uniting all sectors of society in a campaign against crime
       
  5. As a national initiative, rather than merely a government programme, AsgiSAdepends on joint action by key groups in the economy. Its implementation requires appreciation of the opportunities it brings to people in both the first economy and marginalised second economy communities.
    1. Effective communication is therefore of critical importance. As the AsgiSA Annual Report for 2006 released last week indicates, enhancing AsgiSA's communication programme will be a priority for 2007. Our contribution to this, working with The Presidency, will be assisted by a specific budget allocation of R1,5 million. A further allocation for second economy communication is dealt with below.
       
  6. GCIS has worked since 2004 to develop and implement a communication approach that will ensure that we make the most of the national communication opportunity that the 2010 FIFA World Cup: to further unify our country; to work with other African countries to improve the image of our country and continent; and to foster a climate for accelerated development.
    1. GCIS leads the Marketing and Communications Cluster of the 2010 Technical Coordination Committee. We have been working with the International Marketing Council and others to build a 2010 National Communication Partnership of government; private sector communicators and the Local Organising Committee.
    2. This work will be facilitated by the R7,4m allocated in the budget, rising to R8,7m by 2010. Most of this will be used for campaigns to mobilise South Africans to participate in preparations and hosting. It provides for the establishment of a 2010 project management unit in GCIS.
       
  7. Partnership of government, communities and sectors of society for development is the essence of the izimbizo campaign. GCIS has helped organise and co-ordinate the izimbizo programme of The Presidency and National Imbizo Weeks since their inception. Together with The Presidency and Provincial and Local Government, the campaign has been reviewed - this will lead to closer alignment of izimbizo with local development as articulated in Integrated Development Plans, Local Economic Development plans and the National Spatial Development Perspective.
  8. The transformation of the marketing, advertising and communication industry is nearing the formalisation of its charter. A charter scorecard was developed some time ago. But it was necessary to wait for Phase 2 of the Codes of Good Practice on Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment so that the scorecard could be aligned with them. That will be completed in the first half of this year. The Charter gazetting process will then proceed and with it the formation of a Charter Council.
  9. Further testimony to government's long-standing commitment to the fostering of communication partnerships is the existence of the Media Development and Diversity Agency and the International Marketing Council, which will be presenting their strategic plans to the committee in a few days and proposed budgets which include increased allocations.

Expanding access to opportunities

  1. A further communication priority is to disseminate information that expands access to the opportunities that democracy has brought, to help overcome the exclusion or marginalisation of a substantial part of our society. The reach of such information has been extended by a shift towards media with wider reach; and by the creation of new platforms and products with wider appeal.
  2. Disseminating the content of government's Programme of Action as outlined in the President's State of the Nation Address is a major part of this effort. The multi-media communication campaign this year again includes a serialised photo story published in newspapers; radio dramas in all languages (except English); big screens in Thusong Service Centres; and a 16-page magazine summary published as a supplement to Vuk'uzenzele's March edition. Plans are being made to supplement the campaign at the beginning of the year with further communication during the year.
  3. Since it was launched in 2005, Vuk'uzenzelehas consistently been received with appreciation.  Each edition elicits a wave of enquiries to the Batho Pele Call-Centre and GCIS.
    1. An additional R2,5 million was included in the GCIS budget to resource an increase in the print-run, together with an agreement that the revenue from the sale of the five pages of advertising could be used for the same purpose.  This year the print run will increase to 1,4 million. Demand will still outstrip supply and attention is being given to promoting greater sharing so that the same number of copies reach more people.
       
  4. The communication campaign in support of government's Second Economy interventionshas been supported with funding from the FOSAD Economic Cluster departments for three years.
    1. A more adequate response requires a joint public-private effort. In November last year communicators from government, state owned enterprises; development finance institutions and private sector came together at a conference to launch a National Partnership to Expand Second Economy Communication.  A focus of our strategic plan is to build on the conference, working closely with the AsgiSA communication campaign. This will be assisted by an additional R2m in the GCIS for scaling up second economy communication.
       
  5. The roll-out of Thusong Service Centres (formerly MPCCs) to broaden public access to information and services at community level is on track towards the target of at least one per local municipality by 2014. There are now 94 operational centres. Co-operation between GCIS and municipalities has led to the establishment OF some 550 new information points of presence in municipalities without Thusong Service Centres or district GCIS offices.  GCIS and the Film Resource Unit have developed guidelines for the roll-out of audiovisual centres in Thusong Service Centres,

Promoting continental institutions and programmesp

  1. A third priority is to promote awareness of and engagement with the institutions and programmes of continental and regional integration and development. This will enhance appreciation of the intimate link between our own future and that of the rest of the continent. It includes ensuring that the public is kept informed of South Africa's efforts to contribute to the resolution of conflicts and promotion of peace, democracy and development
  2. We will in the coming period be working with Foreign Affairs to raise awareness of developments regarding the AU and its institutions and SADC; and of what NEPAD has achieved since it was launched. In preparation for the discussion on the AU government at the next Heads of State and Government Summit in July this year, a public debate on the issues will be promoted to get the views of South Africans on this matter.
  3. The SADC Media Awards are in their third year. Their purpose is to honour excellence in journalism in the region and to promote regional cooperation and integration by encouraging journalists to improve reporting and analysis of regional issues. GCIS works with stakeholders in the media industry to manage and organise the annual awards nationally.
  4. The 2010 FIFA World Cup, as the first African World Cup, brings opportunities that can be realised if communicators across the continent work together from now until 2010. It is a chance to promote mutual understanding amongst our countries and to build continental solidarity. With an unprecedented global platform it is an opportunity to work together to improve the world's image of our countries and our continent.

Enhancing the government communication system

  1. Progress has been made in strengthening the government-wide system. Its extension to the local sphere is progressing well and an Internal Communicators Forum has been established. The coordinating mechanisms are functioning.
    1. However a more effective and efficient system remains a priority and the core of the GCIS mandate. This includes addressing structural issues and enhancing capacity and professionalism amongst communicators. The latter is particularly important given the approach adopted with the establishment of the government communication system, namely to centralise coordination and strategy but ensure that communication takes place from the points nearest to the intended recipients.
  2. Strengthening the working interface between government and mediais a constant preoccupation.
    1. Since May 2004 regular media briefings on the Programme of Action and its implementation by Ministers and senior officials have helped the media to keep up to date with progress and challenges.  The briefings provide media with accurate information about government's work and opportunities for media to question ministers and officials about issues related to their work. There are indications that there may be more frequent briefings on particular issues or programmes.
    2. Relations between government and the media have improved over recent years and we believe that professionalism among government communicators is improving, leading to better service to the media.  GCIS will continue to pay attention to further improving relations with the media, including inculcating professionalism among communicators.
    3. Usage of government's news service BuaNews has steadily expanded and continues to do so, measured both in visits to the BuaNews website and take up in both small and mainstream media.  A survey in 2006 showed positive response towards BuaNews as an informative and reliable service.
       
  3. Government's ability to communicate effectively and in an integrated and disciplined manner depends on an efficient government communication system.
    1. During the past year the coordinating mechanisms have functioned better resulting in more coherence and co-ordination. However, the system can only function optimally if communicators have the requisite capacity. Three years since it last audited the system, GCIS will this year again conduct an audit of its functioning and capacity to identify steps for improvement.
    2. Following the national conference of local government communicators held in May last year, which adopted guidelines for building municipal communication capacity, GCIS has continued to work with provinces and SALGA to take this forward. By now 28 of the 46 districts have established district communication forums.

Budget and establishment

  1. The section above has outlined the principal programmes that will be undertaken in the period covered by our Strategic Plan. It has indicated how we will use some of the additional allocations in the medium term budget.

Budget

  1. The budget allocation for 2006/07was R294 580 million. As we move towards closure of books for the financial year we believe we will be reporting that expenditure has taken place as planned. We do however project a saving of approximately 1%. These savings will be made up of the following:
    1. R487 448 relates to unpaid advertising space in Vuk'uzenzele, mainly in the January 2007 edition payment for which was not received in time for use this financial year. We project an annual revenue of R1,8 million from advertising in the six issues for the year and this amount was allocated during the adjustment estimates in September 2006.
    2. A further organisational saving (through personnel and operational savings) of R1 698 400 will go towards writing off the Kotane debt and other small written off-debts (R234 956). Over and above that we project less than 1% operational savings.
       
  2. Over the coming MTEF period we have received additional funds to our baseline of R56,356m ;R43 660m and R47 746m for each year respectively.

    Period 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10
    TOTAL R294 580m R375 812m R389 553m R389 553

The additional funds will go towards:
 

  • Additional personnel (R4,555m) to address the needs of programmes that have increased operations; upgrade of the supply chain administration staff;  and R1,2m for the internship programme
  • Additional office space (R1m)
  • Employer's contribution to the non statutory force pension (R15,4m);
  • Provincial and Local Liaison upgrade of regional structures (R6m);
  • Communication programmes: AsgiSA (R1,5) and second economy (R2m);
  • Vuk'Uzenzele expansion of reach (R2,5m).
  • GCIS 2010 World Cup communication programmes (R7,4m  increasing to R8,7m by 2009/0). The IMC has been allocated R14m increasing to R16m for international 2010 communication;
  • MDDA additional personnel (R2m)
     
  1. These additional funds are over the three year period except for the non statutory force pension which is a once off employer's contribution paid into the Government pension department.

Human Resource Development

  1. During 2006/07 GCIS utilised R 2 207 708 for short courses and bursaries for staff. This was 3.4% of the personnel budget, in line with the requirement that departments utilise at least 1% of the personnel budget for training.
  2. Eighty-one (81) interns completed 6-month internship placements with GCIS during 2006/07. Twenty-five of them will complete their internships at the end of June 2007. This was complemented by the intake of 10 learners for a one-year Marketing and Communication Learnership programme that started in July 2006. The programme will be completed in June 2007 when another group of 10 will be admitted.
  3. During 2006/07, eight GCIS staff at general assistant level enrolled for a course 'Introduction to Tailoring'. They will complete 'Advanced Tailoring' at the end of March 2007. Two drivers received certificates in Advanced Driving. In 2007/08, GCIS will place 10-15 general assistants on entrepreneurial skills programmes or general maintenance skills such as carpentry, plumbing, carpet fitting, tiling, driving, building, painting and welding. These skills will, hopefully, help them engage in economic activities that generate sustainable incomes when they reach retirement age.

Representivity

  1. As required, GCIS monitors the demographic composition of the staff complement. The establishment consists of 413 filled posts, with 21 funded posts vacant as a result of staff movements, making a total of 434. The staff is: African 76.3%; Asian 2.9%; Coloured 9.4%; and White 11.4%.
  2. Senior Management comprises 32 staff from the level of Director to Chief Executive Officer (SMS); with 84.4% black and 37.5% female.

    Asian African Coloured White
    M F M F M F M F
    3 2 10 7 4 1 3 2
    9.4% 6.2% 31.3% 21.9% 12.5% 3.1% 9.4% 6.2%
    15.6% 53.2% 15.6% 15.6%
    Male Female Black White
    20 12 27 5
    62.5% 37.5% 84.4% 15.6

 

  1. People with disabilities make up 2.2% of our staff. Our job advertisements are routinely sent to about twenty organisations working with people with disabilities, drawn from the database for the South African Federal Council on Disability Member Organisations.

Information Management and Technology

  1. Plans for Information Management and Technology are detailed in the strategic plan, and we touch here on those aspects with more direct impact on the communication priorities dealt with in Section II
  2. We have rolled out remote connectivity to the GCIS Virtual Private Network in all government information centres (GICs) in Thusong Service Centres with fixed-line connectivity. We will implement alternative connectivity options for those without fixed-line connectivity.
  3. More investment will be made on the GCIS web infrastructure hosting the information portal, to improve capacity, efficiency and functionality. The completion of the language translation project will see the remaining four official languages available on the services portal by the end of this month.
  4. To enhance Security we have implemented internet, e-mail and spam filters and anti-virus systems. We will continuously upgrade and update them to counter threats and vulnerabilities. We have built capacity for IT continuity for disaster recovery of the internal and transversal IT systems and services. We will plan and budget on an ongoing basis for replacement of equipment approaching their end-of-life cycle.

Conclusion

  1. Our strategic plan will guide GCIS in fulfilling its mandate to strengthen the government communication system in order to meet government communication needs and public information needs, so that citizens can play an active role in improving their own lives and the welfare of the country.
  2. In doing so we will be guided by the imperative of promoting a national partnership to build a better life for all. Our work will be informed by the commitment of government to implement a detailed programme of action to take the country as fast as possible towards that goal.

Presented by Themba Maseko, CEO

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Year: 
2007
Speech date:: 
Tuesday, March 27, 2007