1998 Annual report: Activities in 1998


Communication Service Agency

During 1998, the SACS directorates Audiovisual Service, Publications and Project Management were merged into a new production entity, the Communication Services Agency (CSA). The CSA consists of the directorates Project Management, Design and Print Production, and Broadcast Production.

The CSA provides core production services to national and provincial government departments and bodies. These services are either provided in-house or are accessed and facilitated through outsourcing or through mechanisms such as bulk-buying.

During 1998, major clients of the CSA included the departments of Agriculture; Arts, Culture, Science and Technology; Communications; Constitutional Development; Defence; Education; Environmental Affairs and Tourism; Finance; Foreign Affairs; Health; Justice; Labour; Land Affairs; Minerals and Energy; Public Service and Administration; Public Works; Sport and Recreation; Trade and Industry; Water Affairs and Forestry; Welfare; the Office of the President; the Office of the Deputy Minister in the Office of the Deputy President; the Human Rights Commission; the National Youth Commission; the Public Protector; the Public Service Administration; the South African Police Service; the North-West Provincial Government; the Northern Province Provincial Government; the State Library; the Office of the Public Service Commission, and Statistics South Africa.


Project Management

The Subdirectorate: Campaign Services chaired the audiovisual, publication and marketing subcommittees of the interdepartmental Steering Committee responsible for South Africa's participation in the Lisbon Expo '98. The responsibilities included, among other things, the outsourcing of video and CD ROM programmes on South Africa's marine life, the production of promotional material such as key-rings and postcards as well as the design and printing of stationery, brochures and flyers for distribution at the Expo.

The subdirectorate also assisted the Department of Health in staging a consultative briefing on the Partnership Against Aids by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki on 11 September 1998 and with the launch of the Partnership Against Aids Declaration by the Deputy President on 9 October 1998.

Other campaigns in which the subdirectorate was involved, include the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference in Cape Town in November 1998 and the handing over of the TRC Report to President Mandela in Pretoria on 29 October 1998.

The Subdirectorate: Advertising Services assisted departments with the placement of print, radio and television advertisements, for example, publicising Voter Registration (Home Affairs), public hearings on the Job Summit (Labour), Human Rights (with special reference to sexual harassment in the workplace), application deadlines for land restitution as part of the Stake your Claim campaign (Land Affairs), and Masakhane (Constitutional Development).

The subdirectorate also conducted an investigation into the advantages of centralised media buying by the State. Recommendations resulting from this investigation were endorsed by the Cabinet in September 1998.

Centralised media buying of advertising space for communication campaigns will be introduced in 1999 and will be handled by a sole agent for electronic and print media and outdoor media respectively.

The first priority of the Subdirectorate: Corporate Identity and Special Events Management during 1998 was the design and application of the GCIS logo to stationery and other corporate items. The subdirectorate was also involved in the management of events such as the Government Communicators Consultative Conference I and II, the launch of the Partnership Against Aids and the Partnership Against Aids Declaration, and the handing over of the TRC Report.

The Subdirectorate: Marketing and Distribution was responsible for the distribution of all of the SACS publications. This included 3 000 copies of the SACS Annual Report 1997 and 18 000 copies of the South Africa Yearbook 1998.

The subdirectorate was also responsible for the distribution of approximately two millions copies of the Government's Mid-term Report to the Nation. Of the Government's Report to the Nation '98, two million copies were dispersed by private distributors, starting in November, while mass distribution by the Post Office of 1 813 600 copies to all post offices will commence early in 1999. Another 1 186 400 copies were distributed by the GCIS itself.

The subdirectorate was also involved in the management of the Government Communicators Consultative Conference I and II.


Broadcast Production

The Subdirectorate: Video Production completed 20 video programmes (425 minutes) during 1998. This included three programmes for the Lisbon Expo '98 and a series of 11 programmes on the Department of Welfare's Flagship Programme aimed at empowering unemployed women with children under the age of five. Another eight programmes for the Expo were outsourced, using stock-footage from the subdirectorate's archives.

In addition, client departments received technical assistance with 15 projects (525 minutes). Eight events were documented with 1 310 production minutes (almost 22 hours) of video material being produced. Another ten programmes will be finalised early in 1999.

The duplication section made a total of 1 290 video copies in 1998. Twenty-six radio advertisements (18,5 minutes) were produced in various languages and broadcast on 36 radio stations.

Although this falls outside the ambit of the subdirectorate's normal responsibilities, print advertising in support of the Freedom Day celebrations organised by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology was adapted for publication in 11 languages in 13 newspapers.

Video Production will be acquiring a Betacam-SX video camera and editing recorder in the near future. This will offer entry into digital production technology while retaining a degree of 'backward compatibility' with analogue Betacam equipment and recorded material. The MPEG-2 data compression used by this system also offers cost-effective access to broadcast standard digital video. A Macintosh G3 workstation will be purchased as a platform for digital video graphics and non-linear editing purposes.

The Subdirectorate: Broadcast Services has, prior to and since the inception of the GCIS, produced audio material for radio broadcast. As staff are appointed the subdirectorate's infrastructure will also be improved. The sound-booth facilities currently in use will be improved to allow voice-over recordings (for video) and the recording of audio material for use in packaged radio inserts.

The subdirectorate is currently gearing itself for two major developments: the introduction of digital video production/non-linear video post-production technology and the establishment of the Radio Production section.


Design and Print Production

The Subdirectorate: Art offers layout and design services to clients within government. This includes the design of posters, pamphlets, publications, image products, emblems, calendars, invitations, maps and graphs. Clients are also advised on reproduction work, printers and distribution.

During 1998, a major part of the subdirectorate's capacity was utilised by the GCIS itself. The highlight of 1998 was undoubtedly the design of the new GCIS logo and additional material for the official launch of the GCIS. The project included the logo and the application thereof to promotional items, such as T-shirts, pamphlets and mouse-pads.

Other highlights included the cover design of the South Africa Yearbook 1998, the production of various items used during the State visit of President Bill Clinton of the United States, the Lisbon Expo '98, and the NAM Conference. The subdirectorate also ventured into web-page development with the design of the government web site.

The Subdirectorate: Exhibitions designs and produces exhibitions, shows, large-format posters and displays, presentation drawings, banners and models providing information on government policies and activities of national interest. Apart from planning, designing, contracting and supervising the construction, installation and management of exhibitions, the subdirectorate also offers an advisory service to clients.

During 1998, the subdirectorate completed 105 projects. More than 85 per cent of its capacity was utilised by national and provincial government departments. Its efforts were mainly concentrated on the production of informational material on welfare projects, such as abuse of women and children. It also played a key role in the October Aids movement. Exhibitions furthermore assisted the Film and Publication Board with the conceptualising and design of its new corporate identity.

The Photographic Service provides the following services to clients:

  • Photographs taken with 35mm, medium or large-format cameras.
  • Processing black and white, colour negative and slide films.
  • Colour enlargements from slide up to 3m x 3m in size.
  • Colour prints from negative up to 30cm x 40cm in size.
  • Production of 35mm duplicate slides.
  • Presentation of photographic workshops.
  • An advisory service on the acquisition of photographic equipment.

After the launch of the GCIS, the demand for the services of the subdirectorate increased dramatically. More than 150 photographic assignments were undertaken, ranging from RDP projects, State visits, official portraits of different Cabinet Ministers and MECs, and Presidential awards to conferences, seminars and meetings hosted by various departments.

The section also received requests for assistance from private-sector clients, including newspapers, magazines and private companies requesting, among other things, official portraits of Ministers and scenic images of South Africa.

The introduction of digital photographic technology and the storage of photographs in the Adobe Photoshop system increases effective assistance to the media. It also enables images to be transmitted via the Internet to mainstream media and some government departments, in this way cutting down on the subdirectorate's workload.

The Photographic Service is at present compiling a database of photographers, country-wide, to operate more cost-effectively.

The Subdirectorate: Yearbook is responsible for the production of the South Africa Yearbook, the only official reference guide on South Africa, and the flagship publication of the GCIS.

The 1998 edition (print order 18 000) of the South Africa Yearbook consisted of 24 chapters (ranging from government systems and the arts to housing and sport), almost 600 pages, full-colour doublespread photographs, informative maps and tables and a comprehensive index. Its value as a source of reference was boosted by the lists of recommended reading and suggested web sites at the end of each chapter.

The Subdirectorate: Ad Hoc/Editorial Service completed 33 publications during 1998 while the production of another seven publications was carried over to 1999. An advisory and outsourcing service was also provided to clients. Various requests for assistance to clients had to be turned down due to a shortage of personnel.

Undoubtedly, the biggest project undertaken in 1998 was the production of the Government's Report to the Nation '98. This involved publications in all of the 11 official languages, with a total print order of 5 million copies.

Since the establishment of the Editorial Service, the demand for this service has grown considerably. The section is responsible for the language editing of all official English and Afrikaans documents and most publications of the GCIS. Depending on capacity, this service is also provided to other government departments.

Some of the more voluminous documents that had to be edited during 1998 included the Conference Report on the first Government Communicators Consultative Conference in May 1998 (83 pages), the SACS Annual Report 1997 (40 pages), the South Africa Yearbook 1998 (564 pages), and a 120-page research findings report for the Directorate: Research.

Work done on behalf of other departments included a Cabinet Memorandum on Gender Policy for the Department of Communications (30 pages), an information document for the 6th International Energy Conference (13 pages) for the Department of Minerals and Energy, and all the information brochures, posters and leaflets for the South African Pavilion at the Lisbon Expo '98 (Department of Foreign Affairs).

The section is also responsible for the translation of official documents, such as guidelines and regulations, from Afrikaans into English. Translations into the other official languages are currently outsourced.


Media Liaison

The Directorate: Media Liaison performed a variety of duties during the period January to April 1998, a highlight being the Parliamentary Media Briefing Week, held in Cape Town from 9 to 13 February. It was attended by local, national and foreign media as well as senior South African and foreign government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.

The Department of Finance was assisted with media arrangements for the Budget Speech. Preparations for the official launch of the GCIS in May included liaison with the SABC, the Parliamentary Gallery, the local and national media and the Foreign Correspondents' Association. Assistance was also rendered to the Zambian High Commission during the visit of the editor of the Zambian News Agency, Mr Lewis Mwanangombe.

When the Chief Director: Media Liaison joined the GCIS at the beginning of May, the directorate was left with six officials (one in an acting capacity) and an administrative clerk. However, a new vision and structure, which allows for more comprehensive management of the subdirectorates Media Relations, News Service, Parliamentary and Cabinet Support, Ministerial and Departmental Liaison, and International Liaison, were immediately developed.

Four new staff members joined the chief directorate, and interviews to fill an additional 10 posts were held in December. As such, each of the abovementioned areas of responsibility is in a developmental stage - and will become more functional as capacity increases.


Media Services

The section Media Relations is responsible for arranging regular media events and briefings on behalf of the Government; providing logistical support for State visits, international conferences and other government events, as well as handling the accreditation of foreign journalists.

The News Service develops and implements media/PR strategies for major government campaigns/events; develops a news-gathering network at local level, and provides community media with government-related news and features in both print and audio format.

(Also see Achievements during 1998)


Client Relations

The section Parliamentary and Cabinet Support is located at the GCIS Parliamentary Office and is responsible for providing information and support to the Parliamentary Press Gallery on behalf of the executive arm of the Government; working with Ministerial MLOs to ensure effective and comprehensive media service and management; providing Cape Town-based media support for government events, issues and campaigns, and assisting with post-Cabinet press briefings.

The section Ministerial and Departmental Liaison manages communication-co-ordinating mechanisms within the Government to ensure greater synergy of message and strategy, and to promote more effective networking between government communicators.

In collaboration with other bodies such as the departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry, the section International Liaison is responsible for co-ordinating international marketing of South Africa; ensuring a regular information flow to local missions and embassies abroad about South African developments; co-ordinating foreign visitors' programmes; encouraging international interest in South Africa through proactive media strategies; providing media advice and support to foreign journalists, and assisting in building news and information capacity in foreign missions.

(Also see Achievements during 1998)


Achievements during 1998

Government Communicators Forum meetings

Heads of Communication and Ministerial Liaison Officers have been meeting biweekly in the week prior to Cabinet meetings since July 1998. These meetings are initiated and organised by the GCIS. The meetings have been extremely well attended and the Communicators Planning Forum has become an invaluable institution for planning and strategising around communication issues in government. Although the primary focus of these meetings should be to prepare for communication around matters arising from Cabinet meetings, they have become a forum for discussing operational aspects of communication for the Government in general.

Prior to these meetings, there had been very little interaction between government communicators at operational level - prompting the need for the GCIS to adopt a multi-faceted approach towards the problem.

The intention is for government communicators to plan their strategies for the year as the annual planning cycle for departments began at the end of 1998, and that these be co-ordinated by the GCIS. This should allow for greater cohesiveness and anticipation in government communication.

It is also intended that communication clusters - mirroring the interministerial clusters - be firmly established in 1999. Already, the Macroeconomic Framework and Safety and Security clusters have had initial meetings. A cluster of departments also worked closely on the implementation of the Job Summit communication strategy.

Bua magazine

The first issue of a quarterly magazine for government communicators was published in November/December 1998. Bua magazine will, hopefully, grow into an important forum for the sharing of creative strategies and approaches, as well as networking. It should make a contribution towards building links between government communicators and developing professionalism through the sharing of best practices. The second issue of the magazine will be published in March 1999.
International communication

South Africa has not, since the 1994 election, focused on a coherent strategy for developing its international image. Much good work is being done by individual Ministries and statutory bodies such as Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Investment South Africa and Satour. However, most of these efforts are unco-ordinated and independently planned and effected - resulting in duplication of resources, mixed messages, and dispersed delivery points for those seeking information about the country.

The GCIS has, in collaboration with the co-ordination and Implementation Unit in the Office of the Deputy President, begun an exchange of views with some of the key stakeholders. A Cabinet Memorandum (No. 8 of 1998) gave the go-ahead for specialised and targeted research to be conducted into international perceptions of South Africa and Africa as a whole. A tender for this research was advertised at the end of 1998.

The Cabinet Memorandum also approved an audit to be conducted into the work done by departments, provinces and statutory bodies to market South Africa internationally. The GCIS Directorate: Research has completed this audit and, although the response rate was just above 50 per cent, it would appear that most departments, though involved in some form of international marketing, do not have a strategy.

The Cabinet also approved the finalisation of the main body of ideas for a concerted international communication strategy. Once the strategy has been completed and costed, the matter will be taken back to the Cabinet.

Parliamentary Briefing Week

The GCIS held its first Parliamentary Briefing Week for the media and diplomatic corps in August 1998. This is a tradition inherited from the SACS. The briefing week, held in Cape Town, was well attended by local and foreign journalists and more than 50 diplomats. Missions that attended the briefings regularly included Japan, the USA, Namibia, Australia, India, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Russia, Israel, Indonesia, Mozambique and Portugal.

Nearly all Ministries attended the Briefing Week. In addition to the Ministers, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chairperson of the NCOP, the following statutory bodies were also invited to attend: the Public Protector, the Independent Electoral Commission, Armscor, the TRC and the Volkstaat Council.
GCIS Press Breakfasts

In November 1998, the GCIS initiated the first of its Press Breakfasts in Cape Town as a background briefing on the Defence Procurement Programme announced by the Cabinet the previous week. More than 30 journalists attended the breakfast, where they were addressed by the Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr Ronnie Kasrils, Armscor CEO, Mr Lou Swan, Defence Portfolio Chairperson, Mr Tony Yengeni and Mr Vanan Pillay, Acting Director at the Department of Trade and Industry.

At a second Press Breakfast in Johannesburg on 8 December 1998, the Minister of Justice, Mr Dullah Omar, and the Deputy Minister of Justice, Ms Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, unveiled South Africa's National Action Plan on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

It is intended that these Press Breakfasts become a monthly institution which provides for more relaxed interaction between the Government and the media around topical issues.


Following the official launch of the GCIS on 18 May 1998, the erstwhile SacomNews was replaced by BuaNews: Bua - the right to know.

Since community media plays an indispensable role in participatory democracy and development, BuaNews has been instrumental in making mainly government-related information accessible to the public. It also serves as a source of interaction between the Government and the people, particularly at grassroots level. At present, BuaNews supplies more than 260 print and broadcast community media nationwide with developmental information on a weekly basis.

BuaNews utilises diverse sources to compile a comprehensive news package in text format, containing pertinent information ranging from government-related issues to current affairs. In addition to mainly community development and socio-economic news, other topics include education, health, Masakhane, RDP, SADC and the environment.

Previously, the news package was distributed through the post, but now comprehensive plans are under way to introduce a faster and convenient electronic mail system.

In May 1998, the existing mailing list was updated. This exercise also included an equipment audit to establish the level of e-mail connectivity among clients.

Accreditation of foreign journalists

A new accreditation card system for foreign journalists was prepared during 1998.

Other achievements

The Chief Directorate contributed towards the drafting of communication strategies for, among other things, the NAM Summit, the release of the TRC Report, and a public awareness campaign for the National Action Plan on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Media support was offered at a number of government press conferences and events, among them the NAM Summit, the launch of the Partnership Against Aids, the Job Summit, the handing-over of the TRC Report, International Human Rights Day celebrations, and the Anti-Corruption Summit.


Policy and Research

The Chief Directorate: Policy and Research consists of the directorates Information Resource Management; Research, and Policy, which is not yet operational.


Information Resource Management

The Subdirectorate: Communication Centre monitors news and current affairs in both the print and the electronic media, seven days a week, with the aim of timeously informing the Government of events that receive media coverage and the reported perceptions related to these events. Clients include the President and Deputy President, Ministers and provincial Premiers, government departments and local government.

During 1998, the Government was continually informed of media reports that deserved urgent attention and reaction, such as the release of the TRC report, concerns about a resurgence of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal, pressure on the South African currency and stock market, and allegations of corruption in the Public Service.

Two daily reports were issued: the Daily News and Actuality Report (a summary of television and radio news and actuality programmes of the past 24 hours), and the Diary of Government Activity (the activities of the Government and provincial Premiers, and other events of importance). A number of ad hoc media-monitoring reports were issued, including a report on concerns about the 1999 elections, the Presidential Job Summit, Aids awareness campaigns launched by the Government, the Masakhane Focus Week, the Lesotho crisis, farm attacks and escapes by awaiting-trial prisoners.

The centre also received an average of 90 requests per month for video and audiotape recordings and/or transcripts of electronic media coverage of important events. Requests for copies of newspaper reports on specific subjects were also received.

Long-term requests for electronic coverage included coverage of the early release of prisoners to celebrate the 80th birthday of the President, remuneration of public office-bearers, plans for a state-owned Information Technology Agency, the Employment Equity Bill, and the Census results.

During 1998, the Press Clipping Service monitored six daily and four weekly newspapers. The service processed a daily average of 800 articles which were distributed to 123 clients. Newspaper reports of importance to the President, the National Assembly and four provincial governments were also distributed on a daily basis.

The Subdirectorate: Electronic Information Resources is responsible for an on-line database of core government and GCIS information and the development of a government Internet site.

One of the GCIS's priorities being the development of a 'comprehensive government web site on the Internet', the following initiatives were undertaken to reach the Government's objectives:

  • An interdepartmental steering group was set up, under leadership of the GCIS, to ensure that this project is co-ordinated and that relevant expertise is utilised.
  • The GCIS organised an interdepartmental workshop on web publishing in government.
  • The Directorate: Research conducted an audit of existing and planned Internet activities in government.
  • The previous non-official government site (managed by the Central Computer Services) was integrated with the previous GCIS site to become the official entry point to government information on the Internet.
  • An investigation was launched to determine options for web-hosting in government.
  • A subcommittee was established to address the issue of norms, standards and principles.

Extensive development regarding the common government web site on the Internet included:

  • Planning and layout of the government web site. The web site will function as a one-stop gateway from where all government information can be accessed in the quickest way possible.
  • Transferring information previously available on the GCIS site to the new web site and continuously updating it.
  • The inclusion of new government information e.g. the functions, vision, mission of government departments.
  • Creating links to various South African sites, e.g. sites focusing on development, news and media, health, business/finance/economy, travel and tourism.
  • The launch of an initiative to announce important government or national events on the government web site, e.g. the release of the TRC report, and to link to relevant sites when available.
  • The inclusion of a search engine on the government site.

Advice and support regarding Internet page development were rendered to other government departments and institutions - the GCIS supports 13 government bodies with developing and updating their sites and hosts seven departments' information on the GCIS Internet server.

The computerised information retrieval system was upgraded for utilisation in searches through the Internet platform. This database currently contains

13 991 documents, which include 1 409 press releases and speeches made by government role-players during 1998.

The Subdirectorate: Information Centre facilitates access to government information by rendering a comprehensive information service to national, provincial and local government structures, foreign embassies, non-governmental and private organisations, the public and GCIS employees. It also plays a crucial role in obtaining information for the government web site.

Various products and services were rendered during 1998. The Information Centre acted as a central point in government where government and related information could be obtained on request. A total of 4 943 information enquiries (an average of 411 per month) were answered.

Copies of media statements and speeches made by national and provincial government spokespersons were delivered to 200 clients on a daily basis.

Two editions of Government Directory (information on Ministers, Deputy Ministers, government departments, provincial governments and other government institutions) and one edition of Directory of Contacts (information on political, financial and other organisations) were distributed to 1 254 and

1 218 clients respectively. The directories were distributed in hard-copy format and on computer disk, and were also available on the GCIS Internet site.

Profile (bibliographical information on Ministers, Deputy Ministers, provincial Premiers and some parliamentary officials) was provided to clients on request. The information is available on the government web site.

Guide to South African Government Departments contains information on the mission, vision, functions, structure and contact information of all government departments. The information is available on the government web site.

A library service was provided to all GCIS users.



By conducting surveys, the GCIS established a formal communication link with its target audiences, impacting positively on the need for transparency within the Public Service. Both quantitative and qualitative research were conducted. In the case of studies that were not extensive, quantitative research was conducted by personnel of the directorate. Qualitative and extensive quantitative studies were contracted out.

The main research activities included determination of information and development needs; the conducting of communication and skills audits; readership studies; the evaluation of communication products, services, and campaigns by means of pre-, post- or impact testing; taking part in a multi-purpose survey; compiling demographic analyses; rendering professional research advice, and the establishment of a questionnaire database.

Highlights of 1998 included the following (client in brackets):

  • A determination of information needs perceptions regarding various economy-related issues (Department of Trade and Industry).
  • Evaluation of the current utilisation and need for more abattoirs to be established country-wide (Directorate: Veterinary Public Health, Department of Agriculture).
  • Ten communication audits (Department of Correctional Services).
  • Communication and skills audits (GCIS).
  • Bulk-buying of advertising space and research audit (GCIS).
  • Internet publishing audit (GCIS).
  • Marketing South Africa internationally audit (GCIS).
  • Client analysis (GCIS).
  • An evaluation of the Government's Mid-term Report to the Nation (GCIS).
  • An evaluation of the two Government Communicators Consultative Conferences (GCIS).
  • Determination of information needs among the South African population (GCIS).
  • Readership study of Nexus, an internal publication (Department of Correctional Services).
  • Facilitation of research and rendering research advice (departments of Agriculture, Justice, Health, Welfare, Correctional Services and Communications).
  • Participation in a multi-purpose survey conducted by a private research company.


National, Provincial and Local Liaison

The Chief Directorate: National, Provincial and Local Liaison has replaced the Chief Directorate: Communication Execution as part of the transformation of the SACS. As a result of extensive negotiations on the demarcation of the national and provincial communication roles in future, the new structure could not be activated in its entirety.

The Chief Directorate, which will consist of the directorates National, Provincial and Local Liaison, and Government Information Centres (GICs), will be fully operational early in 1999.

The Directorate: National, Provincial and Local Liaison is not yet operational, but will consist of the subdirectorates National Liaison; Interdepartmental Liaison; Interprovincial Liaison; and Local Liaison. The directorate will provide a co-ordinating and facilitating service to national, departmental, provincial and local communication and information role-players, thus securing and maintaining a policy-making and resource-providing infrastructure for the development communication needs of the country.


Government Information Centres

Regional offices     Satellite office
Bloemfontein (future Free State GIC) Kroonstad
Cape Town (future Western Cape GIC)     -  
Durban (future KwaZulu-Natal GIC)     -  
Johannesburg (future Gauteng GIC)     -  
Kimberley (future Northern Cape GIC)     Upington
Mmabatho (future North-West GIC)     -  
Nelspruit (future Mpumalanga GIC)     -  
Pietersburg (future Northern Province GIC)     -  
Port Elizabeth (future Eastern Cape GIC)     -  

The new Chief Directorate is responsible for the management and co-ordination of national communication and information activities at provincial and regional level, as vested in the GICs. The existing regional offices are now in the process of transforming into GICs, in close collaboration with their provincial communication counterparts. This transformation will ensure close co-operation between the national and provincial communication elements, with the main focus on the delivery of cost-effective development communication to the population.

The regional offices have continued with the delivery of government communication and information services in the provinces. A considerable number of activities have been maintained and a number of new initiatives have been undertaken.

The offices maintained their regional communication infrastructure and the establishment of communication contacts and channels of co-operation with the authorities and communities in their areas, for instance:

  • The Eastern Cape Office succeeded in securing the support required to establish a Regional Intergovernmental Liaison Forum in each of its five subregions.
  • The Gauteng Office held a mini interdepartmental communication conference in four of its subregions and established working committees for the co-ordination of government communication and information activities. This resulted in the joint hosting of Community Awareness Days in various communities.
  • The Northern Province Office arranged a seminar where all provincial and national departments and the Local Government Association received information on their respective communication roles and the need and mechanisms for mutual assistance and co-operation. Similarly, a Forum of Government Communicators was established in KwaZulu-Natal through the efforts of the KwaZulu-Natal Office.
  • The Northern Cape Office secured the co-operation of provincial government departments in hosting 44 joint Information Days in 39 of the communities in this vast province.

The offices continued to render communication-related assistance to national and provincial departments, institutions and organisations, and the media. This included:

  • the assistance rendered to the Department of Foreign Affairs in the staging of the NAM Summit in Durban
  • the close involvement of all offices in assisting the departments of Health and Welfare with the Aids campaign and the launch of the Partnership Against Aids in September 1998
  • prominent campaigns such as advocating Curriculum 2005 (Education), Work for Water Programme and the Arbour Week Project (Water Affairs and Forestry), and the Masakhane Campaign (various government departments and institutions).

All offices were also involved in meeting communication and information needs in their particular regions:

  • In conjunction with Telkom, the Post Office and the SABC, the Cape Town office successfully co-ordinated an extensive study tour of the Western Cape by the Portfolio Committee on Communication.
  • The KwaZulu-Natal Office played a major role in launching the South African Youth Workers' Association (SAYWA) in October 1998. The office's close involvement in youth work in the province also contributed to its prominent role in the staging of the third annual meeting of youth leaders, during which a plan for the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Council was drawn up.
  • The North-West office actively supported the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in staging the Women in Science and Technology Conference in Rustenburg and conducting the Technology Awareness Week in Mmabatho.

The offices continued to disseminate government information to the population by means of publications and briefings:

  • The successful country-wide launching of the GCIS on 18 May 1998: Particular demands were placed on the Western Cape office because of its proximity to Parliament.
  • The offices were involved in distributing approximately one million copies of the Government's Report to the Nation '98. Another method of supplying information is through briefings on issues such as human rights, public participation and conservation, usually in conjunction with the relevant departments and authorities. The Northern Province, Northern Cape and Gauteng offices were particularly active in this regard. The Gauteng office also successfully applied the services of its Information Resource Centre and mobilised big industries/organised groups in information dissemination.

Relations between the GCIS and the provincial communication departments improved markedly after the first Government Communicators Consultative Conference, which was held in May 1998. The regional media, both print and electronic, have also become more accessible and the GICs receive an increasing number of requests for information and assistance. Some GICs also provided government departments with a daily or ad hoc news clipping service. These clippings are also provided to the Communication Centre at Head Office.

The activities of the regional offices during 1998 can be summarised as follows:

Liaison activities with local communities     2 970
Liaison activities with local organisations     7 290
Service-rendering and support activities     1 923
Centrally mandated involvement in national communication projects      112
Self-initiated involvement in national communication projects      153
Regional office campaigns      148
Exhibitions staged     69
Number of kilometres travelled with GG vehicles     390 620
Number of publications distributed     138 636


Corporate Services

During 1998, the Directorate Corporate Services consisted of the Subdirectorates Financial Management; Administration, and Transformation, Human Resource Development and Internal Communication.


Human Resources

In the period 1 January to 17 May 1998, the organisation was still known as SACS, with a total of 501 posts. The exodus by personnel as a result of voluntary severance packages continued, leaving the GCIS, after its launch on 18 may 1998, with only 229 filled posts out of a proposed total of 373 posts.

By advertising, a total of 36 new staff members were recruited. On 31 December 1998, 243 posts in the GCIS were filled. Progress was also made in the drive towards a more representative personnel profile, as illustrated by the following figures:

  31 Dec 1997 31 Dec 1998
Whites 85 (34,0%) 77 (31,7%)
Africans 144 (57,6%) 139 (57,2%)
Indians 5 (2,0%)  8 (3,3%)
Coloureds 16 (6,4%) 19 (7,8%)

On 31 December 1998, the ratio of men to women in the different ranks was as follows:

  Men Women
Director and above 6 4
Deputy/Assistant Director 26 12
Lower levels 95  100



Information Technology

One of the first priorities of the GCIS was to re-establish its Information Technology section by appointing staff as well as upgrading current technology.

Following the appointment of a deputy director, a senior programmer and a clerk in June 1998, a short and medium-term business plan was presented to Chief Management. The business plan entails the following:

  • Upgrade of network equipment (File Server).
  • Migration from Banyan Vines to Windows NT environment.
  • Installation of Local Area Network cabling for all regional offices.
  • Installation of File Server with Windows NT for all regional offices.
  • Connecting all regional offices to Head Office via 128k diginet.
  • Upgrade of workstations and printers.

The projected date for completion of the abovementioned upgrading is early 1999.

Information Technology also started implementing Contract RTG 9962 SA to ensure Year 2000 compliancy within the following year. The Y2K project was launched in July and will be completed by early August 1999. Phase 3 (Problem Resolution) is currently being implemented.


Provisioning Administration (Logistics)

The Department of State Expenditure identified this subdirectorate as a pilot for conversion from the 2.6 Provisioning Administration computerised system to Logis in order to be Year 2000 compliant.



The GCIS was allocated R46,823 million for the 1998/9 financial year, which represented an increase of R0,920 million (1,97%) compared to the budget of the 1997/8 financial year.

An amount of R10,685 million (monetary value equal to 104 posts that had to be abolished) was suspended by the Department of State Expenditure as a result of the Government's right-sizing exercise under the Standard Item: Personnel Expenditure.

Roll-over funds of R14,644 million were approved by the Department of State Expenditure for the 1998/9 financial year for the funding of the Government's Report to the Nation '98.

The GCIS inherited the initially approved budget of the SACS. These funds were not sufficient to cover the goals and objectives of the GCIS. The Cabinet was approached and approved an additional amount of R8,7 million to cover the deficit. Of this additional amount, approximately R4,5 million will be utilised on expenditure related to Information Technology.

Improvement of conditions of service for the 1998/9 financial year amounts to approximately R1,525 million.

Taking all of the abovementioned into account, the GCIS's total budget for the 1998/9 financial year amounted to R61,007 million.

The financial structure of the GCIS is made up of four programmes:

Programme 1: Administration
Objective To conduct overall management and policy formulation of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).
Programme 2: Policy and Research
Objective To render communication policy and research services and to manage information resources.
Programme 3: Media Liaison and Communication Service Agency
Objective To ensure a comprehensive and coherent media and international liaison service for the RSA and to provide a Communication Services Agency which acts as a centre of excellence for government communication.
Programme 4: National, Provincial and Local Liaison
Objective To support the provision of a development communication and information service to the population of the RSA.

The 1998/9 budget was divided among the programmes as illustrated below.

Programme 1 - Administration: R13 147 000
Programme 2 - Policy and Research: R 7 881 000
Programme 3 - Media Liaison and CSA: R27 854 000
Programme 4 - National, Provincial and Local Liaison: R12 125 000


Transformation, Resource Development and Internal Communication

The Directorate: Transformation Management was strengthened during the course of 1998 by amalgamating it with the section Human Resource Development. In September 1998, Internal Communication also became part of this directorate.

In addition to the directorate's function of organising workshops and seminars to sensitise officials regarding government policies on a variety of topics, the directorate also engaged in projects such as an internal Aids campaign, human rights awareness issues, and observance of specific days, e.g. Heritage Day and Masakhane.

Because of the ongoing transformation process, the Subdirectorate: Human Resource Development was involved in only a few activities during the year. The focus fell mainly on policy implementation. The following workshops were conducted (people attending in brackets): Customary Marriage (20), Green Paper on Gender Policy (20), Affirmative Action (30), Batho Pele (30), Human Resource Management (30), HIV/Aids Awareness Programme (56), Basic Principles of Public Relations (20), and Public Relations Practice (22).

Assistance was also rendered to other departments, including the Department of Trade and Industry (Public Speaking, Media Relations) and SAMDI (Motivation and Human Resource Management).

Index | Previous
Foreword | Road to GCIS | Vision & mission | Secretariat | Priorities | Executive summary | Organisational structure | Activities in 1998