10 May 2002
I will try to touch briefly on some of the highlights of these diverse areas.
Provincial and local liaison
One of the major priorities of this programme over the past year has been the roll-out of the MPCC programme. To date 18 MPCCs are servicing the needs of citizens in all provinces across the country. The aim is to launch 27 during this current financial year and the remaining 15 by the end of 2003. This will total 60 MPCCs, which will cover all the districts in the country. The MPCC programme has reached into the most remote parts of the country and has provided the opportunity for government to extend its services to communities who were previously excluded from receiving such services. We are often confronted by painful images in the media of families starving because there are unable to access govt services because of lack of birth certificates or ID books. The MPCC programme is one means of ensuring that such services are accessible. To date the kinds of services provided in the MPCCs include:
- Department of Home Affairs providing birth and death certificates, registration of customary union marriages, issuing of ID and passport documents
- Social Development processing applications for child, disability and pension grants
- Agriculture conducting extension programmes for the improvement of land usage and its productivity
- Department of Communications offering a Public Information Terminal and a Telecentre that gives the community access to computers and Internet.
- Department of Labour processing UIF claims
- Some MPCCs have community banks, Citizens’ Post Offices, clinics, Arts and Crafts centres
- Government Information Centres supply the community with information about government
and we are encouraging other departments to make their services available in this one-stop government centre.
The challenge that we have been faced with for some years, has been the extension of the government communication and information system to the local level. This is a priority for us in this year and steps have already been taken to achieve this objective.
The local liaison activities of GCIS Communication officers have been re-oriented to be based at the ward level of local municipalities (Category C). Links have been forged with most Metropolitan, District and Local Municipalities. This has been made easier by the primary role being played by local government structures in the ownership and management of MPCCs. In the majority of MPCCs launched this year, local government has appointed centre managers to oversee the MPCCs.
Discussions have also been initiated with SALGA regarding the forging of partnerships to build greater unity between the communication structures of the three spheres of government. As a result, SALGA is represented on the intersectoral steering committees on MPCCs nationally and provincially; It is also represented on the government Communicators Forum and on the Forum of Provincial Heads of Communication.
At the invitation of the District Municipality, GCIS also conducted a pilot case study in the Amatole District in the Eastern Cape to assess the feasibility of national and provincial communication structures offering communication-strategising support to local government. This programme will be rolled out during this financial year and a strategy to involve local government more comprehensively in national and provincial communication systems, will be developed.
GCIS will also be partnering SALGA in hosting a conference for local government communicators in June this year. Issues of access to and involvement in communication systems, as well as the requisite staffing requirements for communication at local government level, will be assessed.
GCIS has adopted a project management approach to most of its work and the project desk serves as the single entry point for govt depts into GCIS. We have developed a Government Communication Programme which is a GCIS portfolio of communication projects based on the President’s State of the Nation Address.
We operate on the basis of the five clusters as found in the Cabinet Committee system –with theme supervisors for each cluster and a team to serve of the various projects. Through this method we believe that we will develop specialization and expertise in all these areas and provide more effective support to government departments in their communication efforts.
Approximately 5% of our personnel budget has been allocated to Human Resources Development. The Department is currently engaged in a skills audit from which the skills development plan will be updated and implemented.
Senior and middle managers are undergoing various management training programmes in order to enhance their management skills. Emphasis is also being placed on the recruitment and training of African women in middle management positions. Management courses on mentoring and coaching, diversity management and change management are being planned for all GCIS managers in 2002/2003. Senior managers have also been identified to attend managerial training provided by DPSA.
Affirmative action targets
GCIS is progressing well in meeting the national target in terms of representivity. As of 1 May 2002, our staff complement of 306 comprises 49 % women, as compared to 48% in May last year. 85% of our total staff are black, compared to 80% at this time last year. The figure for our disabled staff is more or less constant, at just under 1%.
In management i.e. director level and above: 80% of our managers are black (83% in May last year). With regard to women in management, the national target for women by the year 2005 is 51%, and GCIS currently has 40% women in management. (41% last year).
Finance and provisioning
Budget for 2001/2002
GCIS was allocated a total of R124 213 for the last financial year, 2001/02. Our total expenditure to 31 March 2002 amounted to R122 736 434, which is 98,8% of our budget. Of the remaining R1 476 566, (1.2%) an amount of R1 418 000 had been committed, and at the appropriate time we will request National Treasury to move the funds into the new financial year. As promised both to this Committee and to SCOPA, we have tried to operate within the confines of our budget allocation. The problems we experienced with overspending due to an insufficient budget have been overcome and our allocation for this financial year, 2002 is R144 m. The largest allocation of our budget remains R50m for International Marketing and R23.4m for Provincial and Local Liaison. We have tried to increase the allocation to CSA for the production of information products for various campaigns such as the Imbizo, and State of the Nation multi-media campaign.
Presentation by Ilva Mackay Langa, Deputy Chief Executive Officer: Centralised Services, GCIS