PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Thank you very much, Chairperson. I thought that we were not allowed to correct the Chairperson. [Laughter.] The Chairperson is never out of order.
It is an honour and a privilege for me once again to address this House on the occasion of tabling the budget of the Government Communication and Information System, GCIS. Over the past 10 months government has embarked on a new path of performance outcome indicators intended to ensure that the government machinery becomes more responsive to the needs of its people.
The GCIS plays a critical role in ensuring that the public has access to information on the programmes and plans of government that are meant to empower them to access government services. Most critically, the GCIS has to ensure that this objective is reached through optimally functioning communications units across all departments. These efforts give true expression to our five-year core message: "Working together we can do more". This year, 2010, is also an exciting year for all of us as the country hosts the first ever Fifa World Cup on the African continent. We should and must sustain this positive mood. We must maintain the enthusiasm this event has engendered and share with the world our humanity and tenacity to overcome the challenges that emerge from time to time. It is time to celebrate our diversity and continue to build a cohesive nation. I would like to remind the House that we are 57 days away from hosting the best ever World Cup tournament. Ke Nako!
As part of improving the government communication system to become more responsive to the needs of our people, the GCIS is implementing various new initiatives which emanate from the review of the government-wide communication system. Communication between citizens and the government is critical in ensuring the longevity and legitimacy of democracy and its institutions. A democratic developmental state is one that not only embodies the principles of electoral democracy, but, equally, ensures citizen participation in the development and governance processes.
The GCIS provides strategic leadership and co-ordinates a communication system to fulfil its core mandate of meeting the communication and information needs of government and the public. Furthermore, our mandate requires us to consistently ensure that the public has access to information on programmes, policies and opportunities created by government so that they can actively participate in the transformation agenda of a better life for all.
The GCIS also ensures that South Africa is effectively marketed abroad through the International Marketing Council, IMC, in partnership with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation and state agencies such as SA Tourism, and Trade and Investment SA. The GCIS also oversees the development of media diversity in the country through the Media Development and Diversity Agency, MDDA.
To date, the MDDA has funded 273 projects, amounting to R77 million worth of grant support. These include supporting community radio stations, community newspapers and other community initiatives with skills, seed funding, capacity-building and media diversity and literacy, among other things. The MDDA will expand its focus on rural and poor communities that are marginalised from information and have limited or no access to information.
The main challenge for the MDDA is to put in place mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of these projects. The agency is exploring the development of hubs to support weak and struggling projects. This will include, where possible, building partnerships with established institutions in the area of media development.
The committee is aware that we have an issue which we are discussing with the National Treasury on the funding of the MDDA, particularly of the outer year of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF.
We now turn our attention to what the GCIS is doing to fulfil its mandate. The GCIS has developed a five-year national communication strategy for 2009 to 2014, which informs and drives communication priorities linked with the electoral mandate and which is based on the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, MTSF.
To ensure relevancy, the strategy is updated annually and highlights communication priorities that may have arisen in the course of the year. To ensure uniformity and collective implementation, the strategy has been presented to the senior management of 27 national departments and all provinces.
At the beginning of 2010 an intensive communication campaign on the state of the nation address included the development, production and distribution of a mobilisation leaflet in all official languages, coupled with local community outreach events on the day of the speech. News clocks were produced and broadcast on all SABC television stations and e.tv with the intention of creating awareness of the event.
This year the number of those who watched the live address increased from 2 million in 2009, to 3,9 million in 2010 - a direct result of the change in the time slot. In addition, the GCIS facilitated the live community radio link-up of the address, the reply to the debate on the President's state of the nation address, the Budget Speech and the "Talk to your Minister" shows, reaching a total of 5,8 million people.
The GCIS also co-ordinated the ministerial cluster briefings from 19 February to 5 March, which remain a critical platform for government to communicate the implementation of its priorities. These briefings provide a good platform for the executive to interact with the media in a co- ordinated manner. The GCIS will ensure that visible implementation of government's priorities, as aligned to the performance outcome approach, are communicated on a regular basis.
As indicated earlier, we are 57 days away from the 2010 Fifa World Cup kickoff. The GCIS will continue to lead efforts to ensure that South Africans are mobilised and are ready to become the best hosts ever. If anything, the hosting of the World Cup must also serve to unite South Africans and make each one of us a proud host and a proud South African.
Initiatives are being implemented through the 2010 National Communication Partnership, comprising private and public sector communicators. We expect an estimated 15 000 to 20 000 media representatives, and a global audience of 26 billion people who will experience our country through various media.
Through our partnerships, the "Fly the Flag" and the "Football Friday" campaigns were implemented in the run-up to the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup. In support of these campaigns, the GCIS implemented a road show to Confederations Cup host cities which consisted of media engagements and interactive arts and culture activities with communities in various localities, including on community radio stations.
The campaigns were also championed through the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa. The partnerships also mobilised the whole country to celebrate the 100 days countdown and to continue to showcase our spirit of ubuntu and our enthusiasm to host the World Cup.
What is becoming very clear is that South Africans are indeed getting excited about the hosting of the world's biggest sporting event. More and more South Africans are proudly flying the flag and wearing Bafana Bafana T- shirts in all corners of the country. The GCIS also developed high-definition audiovisual and print stories on government's 2010 Fifa World Cup preparations and related developmental stories, which were syndicated to media in South Africa and internationally.
I am pleased to announce that as part of celebrating our hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, South Africa will be hosting the prestigious Fortune/Time/CNN Global Forum for business leaders from 26 to 29 June 2010. This forum will be co-hosted by the South African government in partnership with CNN, Time and Fortune magazines, and it will bring together business leaders who are part of Fortune magazine's top 500 CEOs and Time magazine's top 100 CEOs. The theme of the conference is "The New Global Opportunity".
We have taken the initiative to enhance government capacity to communicate better by providing communication training to Ministers, Deputy Ministers, directors-general and leaders from provincial government. The GCIS is also in the process of developing a customised government communications curriculum together with the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy.
The GCIS also project-managed the launch of the public liaison office, which includes the Presidential Hotline, as well as Public Participation Week in November 2009 that included Ministers and Deputy Ministers, local councillors and, in some cases, senior managers.
The GCIS, together with The Presidency, the Departments of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and of Arts and Culture, has reconfigured the imbizo programme into the Public Participation Programme, which will ensure that each Ministry institutionalises this programme. In previous years the two weeks of intensive communication called imbizo registered 340 to 459 events throughout the country. It is envisaged that with the new institutionalised Public Participation Programme we will have close to 4 250 events throughout the country throughout the year.
Earlier this year members raised concerns over a lack of co-ordination with Parliament on this important programme, particularly constituency offices. We have taken note of your comments and we will establish relations with all parliamentary constituency offices in the co-ordination of this programme. We will also deliver information about government programmes and services to these constituency offices.
Hon members, to date there are 150 operational Thusong Service Centres throughout the country. Strides have been made in partnership with the Department of Public Service and Administration to ensure ICT, or information and communication technology, connectivity in 55 centres and the installation of 39 prototype general service counters.
This will assist in addressing the historical challenges of connectivity for centres, especially those in rural and remote areas. In the past year almost 5,6 million people visited the Thusong Service Centres for a variety of reasons, including accessing identity documents; birth, marriage and death certificates from the Department of Home Affairs; filing applications for different types of grants from the SA Social Security Agency; and accessing Unemployment Insurance Fund and other labour-related services from the Department of Labour.
The GCIS uses and develops targeted communication to ensure that we engage many South Africans. The GCIS has co-ordinated and scheduled a link-up with 62 community radio stations to profile government economic opportunities that are meant to benefit the most marginalised and emerging entrepreneurs. In this financial year the GCIS will include the use of public broadcast radio stations, reaching a wider audience than the community radio stations.
It is important for South Africa to expand and strengthen its communication and marketing activities in support of our missions abroad. To this end the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, GCIS, SA Tourism, the International Marketing Council and the Department of Tourism will be developing a comprehensive international communication and marketing strategy to guide and align strategic international communication with our stakeholders, including our missions abroad.
The aim is also to provide a system that will ensure prompt and informed government responses to negative stories that migrate across the international media. The strategy will ensure that Brand South Africa is sustained by communicating positive news outside our borders.
We have also ensured that interactive communication is accompanied by a multimedia approach to communication, using products and platforms that meet the needs and preferences of various sectors of the population. Social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and MXit, continue to be explored.
We will facilitate Cabinet interaction with the SA National Editors' Forum and the Foreign Correspondents Association to ensure that the media has access to the executive as the highest policy decision-making body of government. These interactions are intended to ensure that the media and the executive can discuss issues of mutual interest, build better relations and fulfil their mandate of keeping citizens informed.
The government news agency, BuaNews, has penetrated many international countries including Switzerland, China, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Latin America, Turkey, Brunei and Bulgaria. The agency also secured exclusive interviews with Ministers and departments. BuaNews will also be used by South Africa Alive! magazine, which has distribution rights at the O R Tambo International Airport as travellers pass through passport control. This will ensure that we reach travellers, especially in light of the World Cup.
Vuk'uzenzele magazine continues to cover, among other things, government service delivery projects, practical information on how to access and make use of socioeconomic opportunities, government campaigns and programmes, local government issues, community development initiatives and light entertainment features. It has a print order of 1,6 million copies every two months, which are circulated in all nine provinces, largely door to door in deep rural and peri-urban areas.
The magazine is published in all official languages, but the majority of the print-run is in English. Findings from the GCIS Tracker Research on awareness of Vuk'uzenzele have shown that nearly seven in 10 of the respondents indicated being happy with the magazine in English and other languages mostly spoken in their area. However, 18% indicated a preference for the magazine to be available in other languages or languages spoken in their area only. About one in 10 indicated that they preferred the magazine in English only. The magazine is also published in Braille for the visually impaired, while people at the higher end of the living standards measure can access the magazine through the website.
The newly appointed board of the International Marketing Council, IMC, constitutes diverse sectors. The key focus of this board will be to ensure the marketing of Brand South Africa around the world, to achieve a common and homogenous South African brand, enjoying consistency and streamlined representation abroad. The IMC has played a key role in developing a single, unified brand for marketing South Africa internationally. Recognising the important role the media plays in shaping perceptions about South Africa and in view of the growing focus on the country as it prepares to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the IMC has developed a web-based information service aimed specifically at journalists and communication practitioners who want to know more about South Africa. The website offers relevant, mind-opening, up-to-date and verifiable information on the country and its achievements. Domestically, the IMC played a key role in mobilising South Africans through campaigns such as "Fly the Flag" and "Football Friday".
The GCIS will continue to improve communication techniques, tools and methods based on scientific communication research to ensure that communication is targeted, responsive and relevant to the information needs of the people. Our research provides a mixed bag of results, with an increasing view that while access to government information is improving, similarly more and more people still need information on government programmes.
As for the overall cost of communication as per the GCIS budget, I would like to indicate that the original budget allocation for 2009-10 was R481,995 million. After the adjustment estimate in October 2009, the budget increased to R496,780 million. At the end of the financial year, R495,400 million - that is, 99,7% - had been spent.
The bulk of the savings of R1,4 million, or 0,3%, relates to the following: Firstly, about R430 000's worth of invoices have not been received from the Department of Public Works regarding property management, such as the lease of office accommodation, municipal services and accommodation charges; secondly, an amount of about R169 000 still remains for the branding of the Thusong Service Centres; thirdly, provision of about R125 000 was made in respect of the write-off of theft and losses; fourthly, an amount of about R255 000 was not spent in respect of the purchasing of capital assets due to the upgrade in the required equipment by manufacturers; and, finally, these funds will be returned to the National Treasury.
Over the MTEF period, expenditure will increase at an average annual rate of 1,2%, mainly due to the R20 million per year that was allocated for a communication programme over the MTEF period of 2010-11 to 2012-13.
Due to baseline efficiency savings over the MTEF period, the National Treasury has reduced the budget of the GCIS by R11,414 million in 2010-11, by R22,987 million in 2011-12, and by R40,411 million in 2012-13. The total budget allocations over the MTEF period are R546,184 million in 2010-11, R507,1 million in 2011-12, and R515,363 million in 2012-13.
The GCIS has again closed the 2009-10 financial year with a record 99,7% of its budget having been spent. This is commendable work which all of government should emulate.
In conclusion, the essence of "Working together we can do more" must permeate all government activities to ensure that government, together with all sectors of society in their various forms, work together for a better South Africa. Government communication will continue to pursue a developmental agenda in ensuring that the implementation of government's priorities has the intended outcome of impacting positively on the lives of all South Africans.
I would like to congratulate Mr Themba Maseko and the GCIS team, as well as the boards and management of the IMC and the MDDA, on the tight management of the GCIS budget and the implementation of the strategic plan. Finally, I recommend that the House approve the GCIS Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]