GCIS budget vote 2005


8 March 2005
 

  1. Introduction
  2. Review and plans for the coming financial year
  3. Budget and Establishment
  4. Conclusion

I. Introduction

  1. Engagements with the Portfolio Committee are important milestones in our calendar. We pay close attention to them because they are a test of the coherence of our activities. We look forward to them because we know that however frank the engagement might be, it will be informed by the support and guidance which we have consistently enjoyed from this committee.
     
  2. We therefore thank you for this opportunity to present our strategic plan for 2005-2008 and our plans for the financial year 2005-06.
     
  3. The strategic plan for the MTEF period and our more detailed plans for the coming year are informed by:
    1. Our core mandate of providing leadership in government communication in pursuit of the objective which we share with this Committee, namely promoting the widest possible access of citizens to information about the government and its programmes so that they can be active participants in improving their own lives and the well-being of the nation.
       
    2. The communication challenges of the Second Decade of Freedom, which we shared with the Committee in June last year.
       
    3. The fact that we are at the beginning of the term of a government with a detailed and far-reaching programme to implement the mandate of the electorate.
  4. Given that these are continuous with the factors shaping our work in the past year, our programmes in the coming period will in large part be a continuation of what we had embarked on, sharpened by the communication experience of the past year.

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II. Review and plans for the coming financial year

Promoting access to information about government's programme of action with a focus on implementation

  1. Popularising the new programme of action has been a major focus of communication since the formation of the new government.
    1. Apart from the mass multi-media campaigns to disseminate the content of the programme, the internet publication of the programme itself and the sustained regular updating of progress in implementation, introduced a new dimension of access to information. There has been a positive response by the public to this opportunity to assist in the monitoring and evaluation of implementation, and by the media to the possibility of basing their reports and evaluations more solidly on regular and comprehensive information provided by government.
       
    2. The new programme for 2005 was therefore published as soon as it was finalised by Cabinet. With it is the final update of last year's programme, making government's record available to all, both the implementation of most of the programme within the broad framework set and the delays which are receiving attention in the new programme.
       
    3. Currently a multi-media communication campaign using all languages is in progress to give the widest dissemination possible to the programme of action for this year. As an innovation it includes publication in what research suggests is a more popular format, a photo-story serialised in those newspapers which most effectively reach poorer segments of the country's newspaper readership.

Promoting partnership and participatory democracy

  1. The themes of participation and partnership have been finding increasingly strong public resonance, reflected in the increased impact of some of the major communication campaigns.
    1. These included ongoing Ten Year celebrations and Women's Month. The 16 Days of Activism expanded its reach and impact - recognition of the importance of this campaign for the realisation of rights is reflected in the additional funding for it in this year's budget.
       
    2. Once again the Imbizo campaign reached new heights, with visits to provinces by President and Deputy President and the largest ever focus week. Plans for an imbizo visit to the Northern Cape by the President later this month and for a Focus Week from 7-13 April are in hand. Beyond the formal imbizo initiatives, this interactive style of communication is becoming increasingly part of the fabric of our democracy, including at provincial and municipal level. The challenge will be to ensure that it retains its participatory character as a platform for building partnership for growth and development.
       
    3. Together with the International Marketing Council, work is being done to consolidate a national communication partnership around the communication challenges of hosting the 2010 World Cup. The focus will shift towards South Africa when formal structures are formed this year and more intensely at the end of the 2006 World Cup.
       
    4. With regard to the transformation of the marketing and advertising industry which was initiated by this Committee, we believe that the difficulties which featured during the presentation to the Committee last year have been overcome. The sectors belonging to the process are working together in the development of an overarching scorecard within the framework of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerments Act and Strategy.

Broadening access to information about opportunities

  1. The mass campaign to promote access to economic opportunities has completed its first phase
    1. 800 000 copies, in all languages, of the publication Building A People's Contract for Growth and Development, have been distributed mainly through some 90 workshops run as part of the project. The response has been enthusiastic and in many instances practical action has followed.
       
    2. Through the campaign many stakeholders became engaged from across society - NGOs, Churches, local authorities and so on - who recognised the practical value of the publication for those seeking information to improve their lives and possibilities for sustainable livelihoods, and initiated their own processes using the publication.
       
    3. Discussions with the public broadcaster have led to agreement to serialise the publication in 13 parts for broadcast from October this year. A number of financial and development institutions - private and public - are discussing with GCIS how they can assist in promoting the sustainability of this campaign in its next phase.
       
    4. Our analysis, based both on the response to this project and on research concerning public information needs and the reach of the kind of information they want, is that there is need to sustain this campaign. The critical role of information in promoting access to economic opportunities and to the success of government's second economy interventions, was alluded to in the President's State of the Nation Address. There is a need also to build on the experience of this campaign to communicate about the opportunities in general, not just economic, that people can use to improve their lives.
       
    5. It is in this context that consideration is being given to the feasibility of a regular popular magazine, provision for which is in the budget allocation for the coming year.
       
    6. The economic opportunities campaign also threw sharp light on some serious challenges in state capacity to assist people to take advantage of the opportunities created by government programmes. This relates in particular to fragmentation and lack of awareness in some implementing structures. There is a need to complement communication with the public - where much progress has been made - with a major campaign of internal communication to inform and mobilise all public servants to play their part. It requires as much emphasis on the content of government programmes as on the Batho Pele ethic.
       
    7. The MPCC programme remains critical to expanding our country's infrastructure for access to information that people can use to improve their lives. By the end of last year 65 were in operation - exceeding the target of 60 - and Cabinet has adopted a strategy for the second generation which will see an MPCC in every local municipal area within a decade. Funding mechanisms for this programme are currently under discussion between GCIS and other departments; and a partnership is developing between CHAMSA and GCIS to ensure alignment of their own programme to set up business advisory centres with the MPCC project.
       
    8. Practical access to services by the public depends also on integrated service delivery and integrated provision of information. The integration, through co-ordination with the relevant departments and authorities, of MPCCs, the Batho Pele e-Gateway and the Community Development Workers currently being trained and deployed is therefore an increasing focus of the MPCC roll-out programme.
       
    9. GCIS responsibility for the maintenance of the Batho Pele e-Gateway portal is reflected in the additional appropriation of funds in this year's budget. The funds are already being used to establish a unit whose task will be to ensure that the information on the portal is comprehensive and up-to-date - and in due course available in all languages.

Improving performance of the government communication system

  1. Continuing improvement of the performance of the government-wide communication and information system is the core mandate of GCIS, and success in that regard is critical to Government's capacity to meet the communication challenges of the current period. Apart from general improvement a number of aspects require particular attention.
     
  2. In order to take stock of progress regarding the arrangements departments make to perform their communication functions, an audit was done. It showed progress since 2001 in establishing structures which Cabinet, basing itself on the Comtask report, said should be put in place. We are working with the Departments to ensure that:
  • the 50% which still have separate communication components for Ministry and Department regularise their situation
  • the one-third not headed by Chief Directors introduce the appropriate structures and personnel
  • the few that have no dedicated budget for communications ensure a planned alignment between strategies and allocation of resources
  • the improvement reflected in the keen involvement of top management in communication work is sustained and improved
  • participation by communicators in the coordinating structures is enhanced.

The Academy of Government Communication & Marketing, whose establishment by GCIS, Unilever, Mandela-Rhodes Foundation, the University of Witwatersrand Postgraduate School of Public & Development Management, we have previously reported to the Committee, is an important medium to long-term intervention to enhance the standard of government communication. Having successfully graduated its first intake last year it is currently processing the intake for this year's class.

  1. Work to assist provinces and local government in building their communication capacity is being systematically pursued. We are continuing our work with SALGA and DPLG in this regard, and provincial as well as local workshops are being held across the country to ensure a common approach to the communication function among all municipalities.
     
  2. The shift towards unmediated communication needs to be sustained as well as the use of advertising in a way that ensures the widest reach of the information citizens need.
     
  3. The statistics of advertising expenditure by national government, insofar as they are available to GCIS, do reflect adherence to these principles. At the same time there is clear need to improve coherence in government advertising and in some instances cost-effectiveness. GCIS is exploring ways of achieving more coherence.
     
  4. GCIS is working with the IMC as it moves into a new phase of its campaign, to ensure the requisite support from government.

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III. Budget and Establishment

Budget

  1. These then are key elements of the perspective informing our strategic plan of GCIS and plans for the financial year 20005/06. They indicate how the budget for 2005-06 will be used.
     
  2. There has been a substantial increase in the GCIS Budget, a development we attribute in part at least to the consistent support by this Committee.

    The budget allocation for 2004/05 was R203 149 million. We are currently in the process of closing the books for this financial year, and are confident that we will be reporting that all expenditure has taken place as planned.

    MTEF Period 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08
    TOTAL 249 130 251 053 261 681

Over the MTEF period we have received additions to the baseline of R40,0 million, R28,5 million and R28,0 million for each year respectively.

These additional funds will go towards: implementing a learnership programme; the E-Gateway; publication in the national telephone directory of the contact details for Information Officers under the Public Access to Information Act; additional personnel and operational costs of communication officers particularly in local offices; communication around the 16 Days of Activism campaign; and provision for a popular magazine whose viability and format would need further work to determine.

Human Resource Development

  1. Human resource development involves both GCIS staff and others

    During the financial year 2004-05 GCIS utilised R1 959 480 for bursaries and short courses for staff. This represents 3 per cent of the personnel budget, in line with the requirement that departments utilise at least 1% of personnel budgets for training of staff.

    Thirty interns completed their placement with GCIS during the financial year and 20 are about to complete internships at various times during 2005. At any given time, we aim to have a minimum of ten interns at GCIS, and this programme will now be complemented by the Learnership programme. GCIS is embarking on the Marketing and Communication Learnership on 1 April 2005 and will have ten learners per intake for the annual programme.

Representivity

  1. As required, GCIS monitors the composition of its staff complement The GCIS establishment consists of 359 filled posts, with 23 funded posts vacant as a result of staff movements, making a total of 382. The composition of the 359 staff is: African 73,3%; Asian 2,8%; Coloured 9,9%; and White 15.0%.

    Senior Management comprises 25 staff from the level of Director to Chief Executive Officer (SMS); with 84% black and 40% female.

    Asian African Coloured White
    M F M F M F M F
    4 1 8 6 1 1 2 2
    16% 4% 32% 24% 4% 4% 8% 8%
    20% 56% 8% 16%

    Gender Race
    Male Female Black White
    15 10 21 4
    60% 40% 84% 16%

 

  1. People with disabilities make up 1.7% of our staff. In this context, 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.

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IV. Conclusion

  1. The funds and resources which have been availed to us will be used in the ways indicated, informed in turn by the mandate and programme of action of government.
     
  2. The overarching objective defining our mandate is that we should contribute to the creation of a society whose citizens are sufficiently informed to participate actively in shaping their own lives and direction of the country.
     
  3. 6 At this particular moment in the current unprecedented environment of positive factors and confidence in the future, there is the specific challenge of how to contribute to the translation of this confluence of encouraging possibilities into national unity behind shared developmental goals, encouraging all of society to take part in building a South Africa that truly belongs to all.

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Year: 
2005
Speech date:: 
Tuesday, March 8, 2005