PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Thank you, Chairperson. Chairperson of the portfolio committee the hon Ismail Vadi, hon members, honoured guests, friends and comrades, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour and a privilege for me once again to address this House on the occasion of ...
Hon Minister, could you just give me a brief moment regarding this document here. May I just correct this, hon members? I referred to the Minister of Government Communication and Information System. My document here has it differently. [Interjections.] It is the hon Minister in the Presidency: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency. [Applause.]
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.]
Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, staff from the Minister's department, and CEOs and chairpersons of entities operating within the Minister's department, on behalf of the ANC and I am sure the other parties as well I would like to wish the Minister a happy birthday in advance for tomorrow. Happy birthday, hon Minister. How old are you now? [Laughter.] [Applause.]
We are engaging in this debate this year, this month, this week, this day, this hour, this minute and this second, marking the 17th anniversary of the assassination of Comrade Martin Thembisile (Chris) Hani, the former General Secretary of the SA Communist Party and national executive committee member of the ANC.
It was not by accident that United Nations member states adopted the Windhoek Declaration of 1991 and some of the declarations of the World Summit on Information Society, WSIS. They did so in acknowledgement of the importance of diverse and pluralistic media for the sustainability of democracy. Diversity of view and opinions promoting different perspectives can enrich citizens to participate in a people-driven democratic process.
It is therefore in the interests of states to support media diversity. With the media being recognised as the fourth power of state, if you wish, it is an important medium for both the state and its citizens. It informs, educates, entertains and provides a platform for the dialogue necessary in democratic discourse.
For any democracy to be sustainable, it needs free and diverse media. The freedom of the media must be protected by the legislative framework, in particular the Constitution and laws, and must by implication be protected by an independent judiciary. An independent judiciary in this instance is vital and critical for any constitutional democracy. A democratic state has a responsibility to support and promote free and diverse media, as this is in the interests of its citizenry and the sustainability of its rule as a democracy.
South Africa's democracy is premised on a commitment to support constitutional democracy which enshrines free, independent and diverse media. For these reasons we, as South Africans, last year celebrated 32 years since the apartheid government's most brutal actions against the media on 19 October 1977. As the ANC we would like to say that this will never be repeated. Free speech and free media are entrenched in our Constitution and we are going to respect them as such.
HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
The legislative framework establishes an independent communication authority to regulate, amongst other things, broadcasting, telecommunications and postal services. However, we must be quick to say that there is a section of the media, namely the print media, which is not regulated.
Parliament, in recognising the exclusion and marginalisation of disadvantaged communities and persons from access to the media and the media industry, resolved to establish the Media Development and Diversity Agency, MDDA. This agency was established in 2002 in terms of an Act of Parliament. Indeed, we appreciate the partnership which the MDDA enjoys with the major print and broadcast media industry entities, which continue to support its programmes. The basis of the objectives of the MDDA Act is to be found in the Constitution of South Africa, which provides, amongst other things, for the protection of sections 16 and 32 of our Bill of Rights. [Interjections.]
I hear the matter you are raising. That is why I want to emphasise this, because it is this government, as the ANC, which has passed this legislation.
The MDDA's mandate is enshrined in terms of section 3 of the MDDA Act. It requires that the MDDA, in giving meaning and effect to section 16(1) of the Constitution amongst other things, encourages ownership and control of, and access to, the media by historically disadvantaged communities as well as by historically diminished indigenous language and cultural groups, with the overall objective of promoting, supporting and encouraging diverse media. I will come back later to the issue of the print media.
In pursuit of its mandate, as I have indicated before, the MDDA continues to flourish in terms of assisting in the development of skills. We must say that all these beautiful things which the MDDA is supposed to do can only be achieved if every citizen, wherever he or she may be located, rural or urban, poor or rich, has access to of a diverse range of media. The media can also provide a window of transparency in government and inject life into a country's economy by publishing financial and market information for citizens, allowing them to participate freely and fruitfully in their country's economy. Access to communication and information empowers citizens, facilitates participatory democracy and assists in defending, advancing and deepening democracy.
Free, independent and pluralistic media can be achieved not only through many media products - some believe that if you have more media products, you can do that - but also through diversity of ownership and control of the media. In 2009 the MDDA conducted a study which revealed our performance as a country regarding the issue of media ownership.
It is not enough to focus on employment equity, thus ignoring shareholding and management transformation. The report indicates that media assets in this country are still owned largely by four major media companies - only four, none of which have an ownership exceeding 26% of historically disadvantaged people. This is an area of concern.
Surely, this development challenges all of us, as there is no way that the battle of ideas can be handled by so few hands and with the expectation that the content represents the broader view of our society. It is easy to argue, as some always do, that ownership does not have anything to do with the issue of editorial independence. Who are we fooling? We all know that the owners indeed do develop the framework within which managers, in pursuit of smooth corporate governance, will be operating.
The point that we are driving home is that we have only four companies owning the media - the impact of the information our society is being fed. There is no doubt about that. [Applause.] This situation indeed will have to change.
In this vein we are saying that it has become critical for government to establish its own communication agency or service in the form of the GCIS, in order to be able to communicate its programmes, its policies and the views it wants to put across to its citizens.
Government cannot afford to have the publication of its programmes limited in terms of the four companies that own the country's media, who operate under the guise of editorial independence, whereas people know exactly that they do interfere with what must go into the media and be reported on and which is fed to our people on a daily basis. [Interjections.]
Therefore ... [Interjections.] You see, it is important to listen.
Therefore, Minister, the allocation of resources becomes critical. We have the GCIS, but the human and financial resources we put in must assist the people of this entity to fulfil its goal, so that it does not become a window-dressing exercise. They need the resources to be able to communicate with our people, not rely on these media which sometimes report what they want to. [Interjections.]
I have been talking about the importance of media diversity, the importance of having more voices in this regard, as well as the rights enshrined in our Constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression and also the issue of the media. However, we must be quick to say that those rights must also take into consideration the other rights which are conferred upon other citizens of this country, such as the right to privacy and other things. It cannot be that it becomes a right without limitation.
Our conference in Polokwane noted the issue which I have raised regarding the concentration of ownership of the media. This was the reason why we resolved to say that the MDDA is supposed to be well-resourced financially so that it can have an impact on the ownership of the media, by making sure that at the local level we do have our community radio stations and our local print media, and that we pursue the goal more often of community television or broadcasting.
The hon Minister has already addressed my concern around the issue of the co-ordinated communication strategy in government. We accept the framework, and as the committee we can only say that we will be watching you very closely in the implementation of that particular framework, because indeed we cannot fail our people in the accessing of information.
We hope for a speedy resolution to the matter of the funding of the MDDA during the outer years of 2012 and 2013, regarding which we have indicated that we are engaging the National Treasury.
I must come back to the point I made - after acknowledging that only a few people own the media in this country - that it was absolutely necessary for government to establish the GCIS. Do you get it now, loud and clear? [Interjections.] Members must not just howl. They must listen. [Interjections.]
The ANC - "umbutho wabantu" [the people's organisation] - will support this Budget Vote without any doubt. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Chairperson, this is my pulpit. I am actually a preacher in disguise. I have a lot of things to say to you, hon Kholwane. I hope you listen very, very well. [Laughter.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister Collins Chabane, hon Members of Parliament, all the people in the gallery, all the media representatives - welcome. I want to thank the media for their role in informing us. I also welcome all the television viewers. Thank you. I know you are watching to hear the DA's view. Thank you. [Interjections.]
If we have to wait for the Government Communication and Information System, we will receive a lot of options. Who is trustworthy - the ANC, Cosatu, the Communist Party, or a child called Malema? [Interjections.]
Die GCIS kan 'n belangrike rol speel om die moedertale van Suid-Afrika te beskerm. Moenie net inligtingsdokumente of 'n groot gedeelte daarvan in Engels publiseer nie. 'n Mens kry nie 'n Grondwet in Afrikaans nie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[The GCIS could play an important role in protecting the vernaculars of South Africa. Do not publish informational documents or the greater part thereof in English only. One cannot find a Constitution in Afrikaans.]
Mr Minister, I tried to get hold of an Afrikaans translation of the Constitution. It was impossible. And I am speaking on behalf of all the language speakers in South Africa: the Zulus, the Xhosas, the Sothos, the Tswanas. They need the Constitution in their own language. [Interjections.]
We don't need it!
So, you don't need it?
What are you saying?
Dit is nie wat die GCIS vir die mense van Suid-Afrika s wat saak maak nie, maar wel dt wat hulle van die mense weerhou. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[Mr N J VAN DEN BERG: It's not what the GCIS tells the people of South Africa that matters, but rather what they withhold from the people.]
Hon Speaker, the Promotion of Access to Information Act was passed by the Parliament of South Africa in 2000. I quote:
... to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public and private bodies by giving effect to the right of access to information;
... actively promote a society in which the people of South Africa have effective access to information to enable them more fully to exercise and protect all of their rights. In May 1998 Dr Essop Pahad said about the GCIS:
It is to see that all South Africans receive comment and information that enable them to make rational choices about their lives.
The GCIS is an important tool in the hands of the ANC - a propaganda machine. Mr Chabane, you are an honest man of good character. Please don't be a Minister of propaganda. Your name is not Joseph.
The GCIS tells the people what the government thinks the people should hear. Does the GCIS really inform the public of bad service delivery, bad management in ANC-governed local municipalities, corruption, the reasons for the downward spiral at local government level? The only way for the people to let their voices be heard is to go to the streets.
If the GCIS really did its communication job correctly, they would go to troubled areas beforehand and inform the people of the eminent problems. They would hear that the government knows about their problems and what the action plan is.
"What is the government going to do about the problem?" they will ask. Do not wait for Vesuvius to erupt and then send a high-profile ministerial delegation to do damage control. This is another name for the GCIS: the government's damage control department.
There is a lot of damage to control.
A lot, yes. Can you imagine how many problems there will be in a 100 years' time?
The DA doubts whether this is happening, otherwise the departments that are supposed to work in tandem with each other would know about problems in other departments. Together the departments are supposed to do more, but as we in the DA know, the slogan reads: Together we can do less.
It is in the interests of the ANC to keep the people of South Africa uninformed. An informed population can make educated decisions. The moment the people are making educated decisions, it will not be in the interests of the ANC. If it were not for the Constitution that has imbedded in it freedom of speech and a free press, the public would not know what is really happening in South Africa.
Justice Malala, a black columnist, wrote earlier this year, in February, the following: "The President is weak" - meaning Chabane, the South African Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency - "and his colleagues are weak. They cannot tap an obviously challenged or incompetent Minister on the shoulder and ask him to resign or be fired. Worse, it is becoming increasingly clear that Zuma does not actually have the will to fight corruption or defend high standards. This makes Chabane's job redundant from the word go."
Although the opposition parties are not in government, Mr Chabane, they form an integral part of the structure and functions of the South African government. With regard to this background, it is the duty of the GCIS to reflect the role of the opposition parties at all three levels of government. According to the GCIS, the only party that exists is the ANC. Without us, the opposition, no democracy is possible in South Africa.
Mr Chairperson, just to remind you: after the next election the DA will be governing Gauteng, and the Northern Cape, and the Western Cape. Next year, in the municipal elections, we are going to horizontalise your perpendicularity. [Laughter.] Remember my words!
Just to remind the ANC: remember the information scandal of the 1970s. The mission of the information department and Eschel Rhoodie was to polish the image of the National Party, to show the voters the shiny and bright side of government, to withhold important facts from the people. What happened? It exploded in their faces. So, what has changed after all these years?
The President in his state of the nation address set certain benchmarks regarding education, land reform, health, crime, and housing, to name a few. The DA believes that the GCIS must set benchmarks regularly to indicate where we are now. Has there been any progress, what has been done, and, importantly, what are the crucial aspects still to be done?
John Woods said: "Everything you say or do or don't say and don't do sends a message to others." One loose canon in government structures uttering the words "nationalisation of farmland" can undo the work of the International Marketing Council, the IMC. Millions go down the drain!
Dit kan net 'n terloopse opmerking in 'n toespraak of onderhoud wees. Dit laat negatiewe persepsies onder buitelandse beleggers en dit laat hulle skrik. Suid-Afrika is maar net een van die vele ontwikkelende lande ter wreld. Beleggers kom bel nie in Suid-Afrika omdat hulle kastig so lief is vir ons nie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[It could just be a casual remark during a speech or interview. It leaves overseas investors with negative perceptions and it frightens them. South Africa is merely one of many developing countries in the world. Investors do not invest in South Africa because they supposedly like us that much.]
The GCIS can save the taxpayer millions of rand every year in advertising and liaison costs. If every government official was in the office on time for the whole working day and answered his or her phone on time, the queries of the public regarding government services could be solved in no time. Even the President's hotline would receive a minimum of calls.
One of the miracles in the expenditure estimates is the policy and research expenditure. In all honesty, if a department has to spend R19 million again for policy research, this department will never have a policy. It is also not necessary to be a rocket scientist to know what is wrong in South Africa.
Communication in government could be very easy. You need a clear message: what are we going to do, when, where and by whom.
The work that the International Marketing Council is doing is very important. Let's say the R178,4 million in the budget is well spent, especially in terms of the events leading up to the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup in South Africa. But then you get a loose canon like Malema who can do more damage in a couple of days to the South African brand than it would take the IMC years to rebuild.
The ANC's response to the childish behaviour of Malema says it all. I am not going to read the whole thing. In William Shakespeare's drama Romeo and Juliet, Romeo was asked by a nurse about Mercutio. Romeo replied: "A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself talk, and will speak more in a minute than he can stand to in a month." This sounds like Malema!
Eish! Dit maak seer, n Julius? Pasop, daar is meer grappies oor Julius in omloop as oor die Afrikaanse Koos van der Merwe. Julius, jy klop reeds vir Mike Schutte, Kallie Knoetze en Jimmy Abbott. Koos is nie ons Parlement se oom Koos nie. Dis 'n fiktiewe, legendariese figuur in Afrikaans.(Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[Eish! It hurts, not so, Julius? Watch out, there are more jokes about Julius going around than about the Afrikaans-speaking Koos van der Merwe. Julius, you are already ahead of Mike Schutte, Kallie Knoetze and Jimmy Abbott. Koos does not refer to our uncle Koos in Parliament. He is a fictitious, legendary figure in Afrikaans.]
Julius, you are creating an image of a punch-drunk has-been boxer. Remember this: This is not a revolutionary House. It is the democratic Parliament of South Africa. Chief, don't throw me out, please! [Laughter.]
Against this background, I dedicate this speech, on behalf of the DA, to all those people who are suffering because of bad service delivery in different ... [Interjections.]
Hon member, please wrap up.
All right, I'll wrap up.
I'm not finished with you! [Laughter.]
And I am not finished with you either. [Laughter.]
Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Chabane said in a briefing that government had never discussed the issue of nationalisation. Mr Chabane said, "It has never been an agenda item within Cabinet." But then somebody should have told everyone in government that nationalisation was not policy. So, the GCIS is not communicating with the people and even with government departments. Please get the government's message right.
Praat asseblief uit een mond. [Please speak with one voice.]
Please don't confuse us. In closing, the DA wishes Bafana Bafana well in the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup. I thank you, Mr Chairperson. [Applause.]
Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, Sun Tzu, the brilliant Chinese strategist, said: He who controls communication shall control the battlefield. If that was true a thousand years ago, then it is so much more so today. The main difference now is that in a modern constitutional democracy there is a parliament and there is a free media, the fourth estate, to contend with.
News and information move at the speed of light. When an impertinent hothead blows a fuse deep in Luthuli House, it does not stay there; it is world news within nanoseconds. Events and utterances are recorded, and there is no place to hide from the truth.
Effective government communication is, therefore, a vital instrument in creating positive international and local perceptions that will promote investment and inform the broad public about government services. But the message should be consistent and authentic, or else you will lose credibility that you can never regain. I will talk more about that later.
The total allocation of R546,2 million for the Government Communication and Information System, GCIS, is an amount which needs to cover very important departmental programmes, as well as the communication plans of other national departments and other spheres of government - those that actually consult the GCIS to give them advice on good media strategy.
The department also runs the 2010 Fifa World Cup project, which the hon Minister referred to earlier, that liaises with Fifa, the Fifa Local Organising Committee and the IMC, the International Marketing Council, the body that is marketing South Africa internationally. Cope wants to wish them well in ensuring the best ever Fifa World Cup in the history of soccer.
Approximately 25% of the budget is allocated to one of the eight programmes: Administration. The other major programme is Programme 6, which goes mostly in the form of transfers to the International Marketing Council and the Media Development and Diversity Agency, MDDA. The hon Kholwane has already referred to the important role of the MDDA. We in Cope support media diversity and would welcome the MDDA's continued performance in years to come. We are also concerned about the operations and this is covered in the committee report.
The transfer to the IMC has escalated considerably over the past four financial years, mainly as a result of marketing strategies for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. And, apart from the administration which receives the largest portion of the budget, namely R170 million, we also note that there is a new programme: Communication Resource Centre.
This centre monitors and analyses international media coverage of South Africa. It also has a rapid response unit for local media with which to do both proactive and reactive media - and it has a lot to react to. An amount of R6,1 million has been budgeted for this programme, but it may run out by the looks of things.
It is important to note - and I would really like the hon Minister to know that we understand, very largely, that this is a people-driven department - that 65% of the total budget is spent on current expenditure and that compensation of employees will consume 41,35% of all current expenditure this year, with a further escalation of R10 million next year. This is notwithstanding the fact that the staff complement will remain the same.
Growing expenditure on staff salaries becomes a problem, particularly if there is a commensurate increase in the cost of consultants - and there was a huge increase. The amount to be spent on consultants increased from R2,7 million last year to R21 million this year. That is tenfold. Perhaps the department should spend more than 3% as the percentage of compensation of employees to build lasting capacity in the GCIS, and not have consultants that we always rope in to assist the department.
Cope would urge the Minister to monitor these tendencies to ensure that performance outcomes weigh up to growing expenditure on consultants and salaries. The government should be a service delivery structure not an employment agency.
Cope would like to commend the department because it has a particular task ahead of it. Let me just address some of the constraints that it faces. Actually we have a lot of sympathy for Mr Maseko and his staff. How do you package a relatively intelligent communication strategy when the Minister of Communications blunders into the domain of the Treasury and announces a proposed tax levy on the SABC, only to be repudiated by the Minister of Finance a few days later; or when the whole world condemns the ruling party for cashing in on the energy crisis and electricity price hikes by scandalously profiting directly from the power station deal and South Africans, ordinary South Africans, have to foot the bill; and the one head becomes contrite and says the ruling party will be selling their shares in Hitachi, and the other head says no the next day?
How do you defend such chaos? [Interjections.] Or when Minister Ebrahim Patel comes up with a plan to establish a development bond scheme only to have Minister Gordhan pour cold water on one of the key elements ... [Interjections.]
Chair, I just want to check whether the hon member would like to take questions on the matters she is speaking about?
I will gladly take questions at the end of my speech.
How do you defend or explain such chaos? I have addressed the issue of Minister Patel. Now, what we would like to say is that we want an end to this sort of approach, which is another wishy-washy Patelian development scheme. I would like to quote from an article written by Justice Malala, a very respectable columnist, who said: "Except for the increase in the number of Cabinet portfolios, we are surrounded by an incredible amount of verbiage, lekgotlas, alliance summits and other talk shops." [Interjections.]
Hon Kilian, please wrap up.
I will wrap up.
Cope would like to call on the Minister to make sure that he attends to the issue of different views expressed by different Ministers. Also, this constant battle that the hon head of the department has for airtime with Luthuli House reduces government communication to little more than a benevolent public relations section to embellish the images of Cabinet Ministers - an agent of government that delivers a censored version of Cabinet meetings to tell the world what they want them to hear.
It is a severe challenge to portray and maintain a perception of good stable government. Cope wishes the department all the best for their huge task ahead. I thank you. [Applause.]
Modulasetilo, Tona Rre Chabane, Maloko a Palamente ka kakareretso le badiredi ba bagolo ba puso, ke a leboga. Ka re go lona batlotlegi Nickey le Kilian, ditsala tsa me, nyaa, lo e latlhile gompieno. (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
[Ms S R TSEBE: Chairperson, Minister Chabane, Members of Parliament in general; and high ranking government officials, I thank you. To hon Nickey and Kilian, my friends, you messed up.]
This is not about Malema. This is the Government Communication and Information System Budget Vote. Hon Kilian, you even forgot to tell us whether you support this Budget Vote or not, because your main focus was on Malema and nothing else. [Applause.]
Puso e e eteleletsweng pele ke ANC, e e tlhophilweng ke batho ka temokerasi, e na le maikarabelo a matona mo set?habeng a go bona gore mafaratlhatlha a puso mo nageng ya rona a tsamanya ka tsela e e siameng, le go bona gore batho ba rona kwa metsemagaeng ba na le kitso ka tsotlhe tse di diragalang mo pusong.
Ka go rialo, go maleba gore lekala le tshwana le Media Development and Diversity Agency, MDDA, le diragatse maitlamo a mo boemong jwa puso; go bona gore bagarona, bogolo segolo ba ba nnang kwa metsemagaeng, ba ba neng ba ikgatolositswe ke dipuso tsotlhe tse di fetileng, ba kgone go bona tswelelopele mo mererong e e amanang le kgaso. Ka puo ya seeng, ba re buang ka bona ba ke ... (Translation of Setswana paragraphs follows.)
[The ANC-led government, which is elected democratically by the people, has a huge responsibility to ensure that the governmental networks are managed correctly; and that our people in the rural areas are informed of the developments in government.
Having said that, it is relevant for an institution such as the Media Development and Diversity Agency, MDDA, to take it upon itself to ensure that our people, especially those in the rural areas who were historically disadvantaged, should benefit from the progress made on issues relating to broadcasting. In a foreign language, we refer to ...]
... the historically disadvantaged communities and individuals.
Re akaretsa ba?a, bomme le batho ba ba sa itekanelang mo mebeleng. [We include the youth, women and those who are physically challenged.]
The media in South Africa has not been able to articulate, in a fair and consistent manner, the true nature of socioeconomic discourse in ensuring that all views receive equal space and coverage. This is partly because of what the hon Kholwane said in that there is skewed ownership and control, even though the Z-Coms research of 2009 stated that with regard to radio, historically disadvantaged individuals owned 58%, and with regard to TV they owned 64%. We still have the experience ... ... gore bagarona kwa tlase kwa ga ba yo mo mererong ya kgaso ... [... that ordinary people are not involved in broadcasting affairs ...]
... especially in ownership and control.
Commercial media has often been criticised for its tendency to pursue their commercial interests to the detriment of editorial quality. Therefore, community media - the media owned and controlled by historically disadvantaged individuals, of course - will assist in broadening access to information and ensure that all South Africans have equal access to a diverse choice of media, be they commercial, public or community.
Our government also needs to support community media through leveraging its advertisement power to community media, as it was resolved at the 2007 Polokwane conference. It is a worrying factor, though, hon Minister, that most of the advertisements by government are only posted in two national newspapers. And the people of Mokgalwaneng, where I come from, and people in the most rural areas of the North West, do not have access to them. This must change.
Go ya ka pegelo ya MDDA: [According to the MDDA report:]
As of 31 March 2009, we have supported 239 projects and awarded grants amounting to R77 million cumulatively. Go tswa mo go wena Tona re batla go itse gore ke mokgwa ofe o o tsentsweng tirisong go bona gore madi a tshwana le a, a dirisiwa ka tsela e e maleba e bile a dirisediwa tlhabololo ya diyalemowa le dipampirikgaso kwa metsemagaeng, jaaka North West on Sunday. Gongwe fa o garela, o tla kgona gore o re netefaletse fa ... (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
[We want to know from you, Minister, what measure has been put in place to ensure that such monies are used accordingly and are used to improve radio broadcasts and newspapers, such as the North West on Sunday, in the rural areas. I hope in your conclusion, you will be able to assure us that ...]
... the beneficiary projects actually account for the received grants in totality.
Ga go na sente e e salelang kwa morago ntle le go tsaya maikarabelo. [There should not be cent which is unaccounted for.]
An agency like the Media Development and Diversity Agency needs to be capacitated to provide ongoing support and aftercare to ensure that funded projects remain sustainable in the long term and are able to generate revenue for their continued operation, as the Minister also mentioned in his presentation today. The support for these small-scale media should be ongoing. We would also like to express our appreciation for the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation unit to monitor the funded projects.
The ANC national conference in Limpopo recommended that there should be a sustainable increase in funding for the MDDA to fulfil its strategic mandate, as stated in the Act. However, it is noted that there is no allocation for the agency for 2012-13 in the estimates of national expenditure 2010 Budget, published by the Minister of Finance.
Ke ka moo re reng, jaaka mokgatlho o o eteletseng puso pele, re tsere tsweetso, ka gongwe o ka re tlhalosetsa gore go senyegile fa kae gore lekala le tshwana le MDDA le na le maikaelelo a go tlhabolola bobegakgang kwa metsemagaeng a rona le sa kgona go bona kabelo jaaka makala a mangwe a GCIS. A naa kwa ntle ga kabo e, MDDA e tla kgona go diragatsa maitlhomo a yona? (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
[It is against this background that, as the party which is in government, you have to explain to us why an institution such as the MDDA, whose intention it is to improve news reporting in the rural areas, did not get funding as was the case with the GCIS. Is it possible for the MDDA to operate without this funding?]
The great challenge faced by the MDDA is to make itself visible to a wide spectrum of community media in the country. It must have a programme to popularise its work and ensure that it penetrates deeply into the rural areas, where the need for its service is even greats, ensuring that each and every South African citizen has access to a diverse range of media, as it is currently not well known to its constituency.
Bagarona le batho ba ba maleba ga ba na kitso e e nepegetseng ka MDDA. Ke a le kgwetlha gompieno. Ke Maloko a Palamente a le makae a a itseng ka lekala le la MDDA. Ke ka moo re reng ke maikarabelo a GCIS go bona gore e ba thusa go dira gore lekala le le itsege. Go itsewe gore diporojeke di tswa jang, madi a dirisiwa jang le gore batho ba ba maleba ba dikgwebopotlana ba kgone go dira dikopo. Fela bonnete ba kgang ke gore bontsi ba batho ga ba na kitso e e tebileng ka lekala le la MDDA. (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
[Our people and other relevant people do not have the correct information on the MDDA and, therefore, I would like to challenge you today. How many Members of Parliament know about the MDDA? This is the reason we believe it is the GCIS's responsibility to ensure that it is known. It must be clear how projects are awarded, how the monies are used and it must help the relevant small business people to apply. The truth is most people do not know anything about the MDDA.]
With regard to media diversity and access by disadvantaged communities, there is a long way to go towards making digital content accessible in the rural and township environments. Also, with regard to challenges, transformation of media ownership and control needs to be more focused.
In conclusion, allow me to applaud the MDDA for its joint work with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in promoting the use of indigenous languages, although more still needs to be done. We also applaud it for receiving unqualified reports since its establishment, and for making sure that the Limpopo resolutions with regard to the establishment of community radio stations became a reality within a short space of time by establishing 52 community radio stations and 52 community newspapers in 52 municipalities.
Ke a leboga. [Legofi.] [I thank you. [Applause.]]
Hon Chairperson, let me begin by expressing the IFP's support for this Budget Vote. We do so because of our recognition of the important role that the Government Communication and Information System, GCIS, plays in communicating government's intentions, and informing the public at large about the various programmes and services of the government.
Secondly, we support this Budget Vote because we want to encourage hon Minister Chabane, who has lived up to the promises he made last year that this government would be open to positive ideas and responsive to constructive criticism. [Applause.]
I say this because a number of issues and proposals we made last year were actually followed up and something we complained about - such as the abuse of taxpayer money by egocentric MECs who sought to profile themselves at the expense of non-partisan government programmes and services - seems to have been nipped in the bud and discouraged, at least in KwaZulu-Natal.
Thirdly, we support this Budget Vote because the chief executive officer of the GCIS, Mr Themba Maseko, and his staff have exceeded our expectations by engaging with us and improving with regard to the criticisms we levelled against the functioning of the GCIS and the entire government communication effort in the national, provincial and local spheres of government.
We say this notwithstanding the fact that challenges in improvement remain, particularly in the provinces and among municipalities. We recognise the fact that they cannot actually dictate to the provinces and municipalities what needs to be done in these spheres of government in order to ensure that the public they serve within their areas of jurisdiction and influence receive better communication outcomes than is generally the case at the moment.
Let me go on to point to the challenges in improving the services that the GCIS is meant to deliver to the public. I do not know how the Thusong Service Centres are actually managed on a day-to-day basis, but I do know that they fall under the broad ambit of the GCIS. I say this because a number of these centres, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, leave much to be desired.
There appears to be a lack of proper planning and co-ordination in that there are a number of these centres, such as the one in Tulwane in the Nkandla District, which were constructed and launched but have remained closed since their launch. One cannot help entertaining the feeling that maybe they were launched during the election campaign while their long-term sustainability had not been fully considered.
What compounds this problem is the proliferation of similar centres in the same areas. Some are called Thusong Centres. A few paces from one Thusong Centre there is another centre called a One-Stop Service Centre doing exactly the same thing that the Thusong Service Centres are supposed to do.
For example, in the KwaShange traditional area there was already an operational One-Stop Community Service Centre. But literally just across the road, in Lindela, in the KwaNxamalala traditional area, a more posh Thusong Service Centre was built and launched in the vicinity of other similar centres run by the KwaZulu-Natal department of social development in the run-up to the elections.
To render it fully operational, staff - I suppose from the department of social development - were removed from the already operational centre across the road in the KwaShange traditional area. As a result, I have been led to understand that the KwaShange centre was left limping along and eventually closed down. While this was happening, about 10 kilometres away another centre was erected in the KwaMagwaza traditional area and was launched with much fanfare by the department of social development, but has remained closed ever since then.
Quite clearly, a good measure of rationalisation was necessary and could have prevented the proliferation of institutions of a similar nature. What is more, such a manner of government delivery could quite unintentionally heighten tensions among our communities, which have in the past been prone to faction-fighting.
I would be happy, hon Minister, if the GCIS could investigate the proliferation of these centres - which are doing one and the same thing and which are poaching staff members from here to there but all in the same vicinity - which would enable the GCIS to come up with a strategy which would prevent the squandering of scarce financial resources at the disposal of the government.
Lastly, we thank the Media Development and Diversity Agency for the efforts that it has made. We know that it is underfunded. We would ask that funding for the MDDA be improved, because in KwaZulu-Natal pay-TV was launched and is operational through the efforts of the MDDA. This promotes media diversity and it needs to be supported in a big way. I thank you, hon Chairperson. [Applause.]
Chairperson, Minister, hon members - all protocol being observed - the topic I am going to discuss is the International Marketing Council, IMC. The International Marketing Council of SA was established in August 2002 for the purpose of creating a positive and compelling brand image for South Africa.
The IMC's main objective is to market South Africa through the Brand South Africa campaign. In this regard, Brand SA has recently launched a single commercial identity. As the IMC puts it, the most important advantage of having a consolidated brand image is that a consistent South African brand message creates strategic advantages in terms of trade and tourism for the country in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
This is a very crucial year for the country, as the manner in which South Africa hosts the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup tournament will set the standard for how South Africa is perceived and positioned in the future. It is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the country on a large scale. However, efforts to manage the country's reputation throughout the world have experienced a few challenges, such as the xenophobic attacks and, recently, events related to the death of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche, which have sparked fears of the outbreak of a racial war in the country. However, as the former IMC chairperson once stated, and I quote:
For the Marketing Council, 2010 is the ultimate opportunity to tell the global community about the resilience of the country and South Africa's ability to unite people of all races and the many small daily miracles that make the country the vibrant nation that it is.
The IMC's aim is to influence the perceptions of South Africans, the government, the local media, the African continent and the international community at large. Its mandate is to build South Africa's national brand reputation in order to improve the country's global competitiveness in trade, tourism and other economic sectors.
The IMC intends to position the country as an attractive destination and partner for trade and investment and tourism. The IMC's vision is for Brand South Africa to be acknowledged as one of the top 20 nation brands and as one of the top 30 nations in the Global Competitive Index by 2020.
With regards to IMC leadership, the current IMC board members were appointed by President Jacob Zuma in November last year to serve on the IMC board of executives for a period of three years. Now, I would like to refer to the executive that was nominated. Ms Anita Soni is the chairperson of the board. In March this year the IMC announced the appointment of Mr Miller Matola as the chief executive officer. Matola has been the CEO of the Durban ICC since 2006. He took over from Paul Bannister who was the acting CEO in 2009. The IMC now has a full-time CEO who is ensuring stability in the organisation as the country hosts one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
What has the IMC achieved thus far? Now, Chair, I am going to talk about the achievements of the IMC. Part of how the IMC delivers to the market is driven largely by relationships with its key stakeholders and partners. Its partners include national departments, provinces, businesses, civil society and private citizens. Key to the work of the IMC is the alignment of all stakeholders around one national brand.
Until recently, we as a nation had no clearly recognisable identity and presented an inconsistent, fragmented and often confusing image to the world to attract or welcome visitors and investors to our country. Cabinet approved a singular brand image and identity to become the face of South Africa and to communicate the story of South Africa to the world. The IMC was the driver of the project. On 2 March 2010, President Jacob Zuma used the occasion of his state visit to unveil the new IMC logo at a function attended by 900 guests, a community of South Africans based in London, as well as to the "Friends of South Africa". The project to popularise the logo is currently in the roll-out phase.
The IMC made an impact on the World Economic Forum in Davos in February this year. The forum is an independent international organisation committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape the global, regional and industrial agendas.
In 2010 South Africa's goal has been to use the Davos platform to build South Africa's nation brand reputation, with specific focus on socioeconomic and political issues. The success of South Africa at the forum can best be summed up by an article that appeared in Time magazine of 15 February 2010, which states:
There have been many nations that have used Davos to "brand" themselves, but - from the ubiquitous scarves in South African colours, the music at the closing night's party, and a screening of Anant Singh's wonderful film More Than Just a Game, about the football played by political prisoners on Robben Island - none have ever done so much with such brio as the South Africans.
In the build-up to the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, the IMC has been involved in a number of initiatives aimed at local mobilisation, as well as mobilisation on the African continent. These initiatives have been taken in partnership with the GCIS, the SA Broadcasting Corporation, SA Tourism, the Department of Arts and Culture, the Department of Sport and Recreation, the South African Local Organising Committee and the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.
The activities included the 2010 road shows in the five countries in Africa that qualified, led by the Department of International Relations and Co- operation. There were promotional adverts in the build-up to the Confederations Cup and the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup that were flighted on all SABC stations and on e.tv. There was also the hosting of the National Communication Partnership Conference with 500 communicators across South Africa and Africa.
Locally, the IMC initiated the following campaigns. The "Fly the Flag" campaign, included the national anthem campaign, over key countdown days: 250, 200, etc; and the distribution of the South African flag to host cities, provinces, corporate entities, public areas such as tollgates, malls, beaches, schools - the list grows.
The "Football Friday" campaign entailed encouraging support for the national team by wearing football T-shirts every Friday. The People's Bus campaign was launched to help the domestic campaign in reaching everyone in the nine provinces of South Africa.
The Global South Africans Initiative was conceived to leverage the knowledge and connections of South Africans who live abroad, but remain committed to the country and its success. It complements initiatives like the Homecoming Revolution, which seeks the return of skilled expatriates by tapping into the invaluable resources represented by those who are not coming home just yet. A primary goal of the Global South Africans Initiative is to empower global South Africans to act as brand ambassadors and effective advocates for the country as a destination for investment and travel.
The challenges faced by the IMC include activating influences with the South African audience groups in a more focused manner, thereby building momentum; unlocking support and collaboration on various platforms both in government and business in support of the 2010 domestic mobilisation campaigns; effectively measuring the success of the 2010 Soccer World Cup prior to, during and after the event; limited financial resources to achieve a plethora of tasks; articulating the Brand South Africa value proposition in a way that resonates with all key stakeholders - national, provincial and local - primarily across citizenship, investment and tourism, and differentiating against competitive regional and global markets; engaging and empowering key stakeholders around a central Brand South Africa initiative and positioning to build awareness, understanding, belief and championship of Brand South Africa and image; ensuring accurate usage of Brand South Africa marketing tools, namely aligned national central image, visual language and Brand SA marketers' portal; getting the media to understand the role they play in nation-branding and the impact they have on conservation.
The IMC is planning to embark on the following projects. With regard to the Shanghai Expo, the IMC is providing lead direction on branding and media- related elements in partnership with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation. The IMC is participating in the Global Forum in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry in June 2010.
The IMC also intends being involved in international trade and investment initiatives in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry throughout 2010. The IMC is also involved in organising media functions in partnership with the Presidency, the GCIS - per quarter. Also, the IMC is embarking on repositioning Brand South Africa beyond 2010. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, hon Minister, the hon Kholwane's suggestion that the GCIS, as a government-run agency, can address ownership patterns in South Africa's media is a little bit short-sighted.
First of all the hon member isn't giving the Media Development and Diversity Agency, the MDDA, much credit for doing what it is actually mandated to do, which is to diversify and develop the core of the media producers, journalists and, yes, media owners in South Africa.
However, government ownership does not translate into transformation, hon Kholwane. Indeed, true transformation will never be served by the centralisation of any kind of power, be it the power to communicate or to propagate propaganda. True transformation should be about giving a voice to and situating ownership and control of the fourth estate in the hands of South African citizens in the private sphere.
Of course, the ANC would like to convince the South African people that these two concepts are the same: transformation and centralisation. And, of course, we also know that they would like us to believe this because a belief in this would suit the governing party's own political purposes.
With regard to aiding the diversification and the development of the media landscape in South Africa, the DA supports the good work of the MDDA in the areas of research, training and lobbying to achieve this outcome. We urge the National Treasury to clarify the financial position of the agency in the outer years of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF.
The absence of funding is particularly confusing given the policy direction that has been taken by the Department of Communications, as referred to earlier by the hon Kilian, which envisages a significant fund-management role for the MDDA in its drafting of the contentious draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill.
With only 57 days left until the 2010 Fifa World Cup kicks off in South Africa, the GCIS's short-term priority of leading and anchoring government communication on the preparations for the tournament will now be in top gear.
The World Cup has presented the GCIS, and the International Marketing Council of SA in particular, with its biggest challenge over the Medium- Term Strategic Framework period as far as projecting a tournament-ready South Africa to itself and also to the rest of the world is concerned.
In this regard, the GCIS's relationship with the international media has become particularly important over the past financial year, especially given recent so-called "news" headlines, some of the more egregious of which spring to mind, for example: "England fans warned of rampaging baboons in South Africa", "World Cup South Africa quake fears" and, of course, the now notorious "World Cup machete threat", all of which were recently published in one of the United Kingdom's less scrupulous tabloid newspapers.
Unfortunately, the response to these tensions from some political leaders and from the IMC, which is the custodian of the South African brand, has been to call for so-called "patriotic" reporting from the local media. Now, truly patriotic reporting and truly patriotic South Africans should always be wary of terms like "patriotic" and "positive" being bandied about by the government and by its agencies in relation to how members of the fourth estate should go about reporting on any crucial subject in the South African public sphere, whether it be the World Cup or any other significant upcoming event in our country.
Examples like the sensational UK Daily Star reports which I have just quoted, which alleged an impending "race war" in South Africa following the murder of Eugene Terre'Blanche, were obviously false and entirely fabricated, much like the mad claim that earthquakes in Cape Town and Durban are threatening to derail South Africa's hosting of the World Cup.
These examples really only serve to prove what is and has always been the DA's position on this matter: the South African government has nothing to fear from a free and independent local media, since the truth and the honest truth is the only necessary response to this kind of foolishness and hysteria.
As the custodian of Brand South Africa, the IMC is entrusted with the responsibility of looking beyond the Fifa World Cup in its interactions with South Africa's target audiences both at home and abroad. But, of course, the marketing council, while it acts as custodian, is also in the unique position of being itself one of many ambassadors for the South African brand, which is as diverse as the many people who carry stories about and experiences from this vast and beautiful country.
It is for this reason that the DA welcomes the IMC's priority in the Medium- Term Strategic Framework of solidifying the South African brand at organisational and governmental levels in all three spheres, so that these more formalised touch-points of the South African brand might begin to take on a more synergised form.
The marketing council's new corporate identity, the colours and stripes of the South African flag forming the shape of an arrow moving decisively forward, is central in this regard and we wish the IMC well in lobbying to bring some brand unity to the South African government's international presence. We also welcome the IMC's collaborative approach through their interactions with national and, crucially, with provincial governments in this regard, and we look forward to seeing the same initiatives rolled out at local government level too. I thank you. [Applause.]
Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, comrades and friends, firstly, let me deal with certain issues before I get to my speech. Hon members, it is not correct to say the GCIS is propaganda of the ANC or of Luthuli House. No.
The GCIS is government communication not ANC communication. [Interjections.] Let me tell you. The ANC is currently in the process of establishing its own newspaper, because we need our own tools to communicate our programmes as the ANC not the GCIS. I just wanted to correct that. [Interjections.] However, that also tempted me to give you the background of the GCIS because some of us do not understand the GCIS.
Before doing that, let me also correct the perception that there is democracy in this country because there is the DA. That is not true. There was no democracy in this country before the ANC returned from exile. [Interjections.] It is the ANC that's protecting this democracy. It is the ANC that's entrenching this democracy. [Interjections.] Whether you want to accept that or not, that is the reality and you must accept it. [Interjections.]
Order, members! Order, please! Give him a hearing, even if you do not agree with him. Please give him a hearing. Let's hear what he has to say.
Let me deal with a few issues as the background of this GCIS, because some of us do not understand the GCIS. In 1994 there was a breakthrough in the country. That breakthrough afforded the majority of the people with the opportunity of attaining state power. That state power was not attained for its sake but to pursue the revolution.
What is the revolution? The revolution is the process of resolving antagonism in society. The ANC's strategy and tactics clarified that the aim of the national democratic revolution in our context was to resolve fundamental contradictions about national oppression, social exclusion, class super exploitation and the triple oppression of women. In order to realise the national democratic society we need a legitimate state with the force of cohesion, popular support and a democratic constitution.
This background will assist us to correctly position our frame of mind when deliberating on this Budget Vote. Hence, there was the formation of the GCIS. The aim of the GCIS was precisely to provide comprehensive communication services on behalf of government - not the ANC - to facilitate the involvement of public participation in governance, nation- building and reconciliation.
The key objective of the GCIS is to continually communicate and inform the public of the policies and programmes of the government - not of the ANC, of the government - to improve their lives. Indeed, the GCIS derives its existence from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which guarantee freedom of expression, media freedom and the right of access to information. Why did we need the GCIS then and even today? In 1995, the ANC government set up an independent task team. One of its findings was that, overall, government lacked central co-ordination in messaging and adequate planning of information campaigns, and that communication was given a low priority. Hence, the GCIS was located in the Presidency as the highest office in the land.
The other finding was that there was an apparent lack of skill to analyse and explain the complex economic and social transformation, which was both a challenge and a constraint; hence the importance of creating a mechanism for improving media capacity.
Another reason was that the ANC government was faced with a major ideological offensive from the opposition - listen, Kganare, you were part of us back then - and factions in the mainstream media, whose objectives were the promotion of market fundamentalism and control of the media in order to retain the old apartheid and social relations. [Interjections.]
These attitudes were strengthened by the fact that there was a well- orchestrated global offensive against progressive values and ideas. In fact, the concentration of ownership, control and content within the international media environment is reflected in the local industry and reinforces the offensive. That's why the mainstream media, in pursuit of media freedom, sometimes undermines other constitutional rights like the right to privacy and dignity. It is very important to acknowledge these harsh realities in order to appreciate the mammoth task faced by the GCIS in an environment that is inundated with sharks in the form of the mainstream media. [Interjections.] As long as you don't insult me, I don't have a problem.
Indeed, media is a contested terrain - listen to this - and therefore not neutral, but reflective of the ideological battles and power relations based on race, class and gender in our society. [Applause.]
Therefore, it is very important for the GCIS to acquire the skill to translate complex issues into simple messages of hope to the people of this country. We need an effective and efficient GCIS that can survive under difficult conditions. The GCIS must serve both public and national interests. The role of a progressive media is critical in building a vibrant democracy.
Minister, you can now start taking note. Let me propose the following recommendation for the GCIS to consider, Minister: to position the GCIS as the influential role-player in the communication sector, something that is very important; to strengthen the government-wide communication system for effectiveness and proper alignment; to address the silo mentality amongst communicators in our government; and to utilise the existing mechanism that has been created since 2003 by the Media Development and Diversity Agency, MDDA, to disseminate information and advertising and to communicate directly with specific communities.
In addition, the budget increase in nominal and real terms should increase service to the people and not be spent on frills, travel, goods and services and on salaries and bonuses. It is very important for the GCIS to allocate at least a page or two to report government expenditure on infrastructure and tangible social upliftment programmes. The Minister should make use of his location in the Presidency to advocate for practical and centralised co-ordination in messaging, and for there to be adequate planning of information campaigns. The information gap between the government and the masses should be minimised in order to improve popular participation.
Let me raise this point as well, because for me and the ANC it is very critical: If we want to attain this developmental state that we seek to build in an environment where the opposing forces are aligning themselves to oppose the current government, it is critical to develop and deploy academically and politically skilled and qualified cadres to defend and pursue the revolution with the necessary vigour. [Applause]. We need cadres who will resist the negative pull of the system that we seek to destroy, namely apartheid. [Interjections.]
Hon members, please! Let's hear the member.
The GCIS' victory is certain. The task to cascade information in all official languages with a limited budget is do-able. Before I conclude, let me deal with a few issues.
Hon Mazibuko, listen. [Laughter.]
Nickey ... Hon member Nickey ... [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I rise on a point of order ...
Hon member Van den Berg ...
What is the point of order, hon member?
Is it acceptable for a member to refer to another member by his first name?
The hon member raised the issue ...
Hon member, please! You continue even if there is a point of order. You tried to put that right. You corrected yourself.
The hon member raised the issue that together we can do less. [Interjections.] Okay, that's fine. Now you are giving me the reason why this alliance of the opposition is not forming because there is a crisis of leadership before it can even be formed. So, now I can see why you say "Together we can do less". That's your problem in the alliance of the opposition. [Laughter.] [Applause.] You can come to us and get some advice. That's one thing I've learnt.
I've also clarified that the ANC is in the process of establishing its newspaper. We will not rely on the GCIS to articulate our position. We are completely capable of disseminating our information. [Interjections.] We don't even need the SABC.
Hon members, could you allow the hon member to continue with his speech.
Hon member Zondi ...
Ama-Thusong Centre akhiwa yiMinyango bese iwanikeza omasipala. Inkinga ukuthi uthola omasipala bengakulungele ukuwasebenzisa sebewanikiwe ngenxa yezinto zabo, esingeke siqale manje sikhulume izinto zomasipala balapho siqhamuka khona sizozikhuluma lapha kule ndawo yethu. Uma sifuna ukulungisa indaba yama-Thusong Centre masibuyele siyolungisa nakomasipala bethu hhayi ukuthi sikhalaze ngeMinyango. Kodwa kuyiqiniso ukuthi amanye ama-Thusong Centre akhiwa uMnyango Wezemisebenzi Yomphakathi kanye noMnyango Wezokuthuthukiswa Komphakathi amanye akhiwa i-GCIS. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[The Thusong Centres are built by the departments and then handed over to the municipalities. The problem is that you find that the municipalities are not ready to use them because of their issues, which we cannot talk about now, since we cannot talk about the issues of our municipalities here. If we want to resolve the issues relating to the Thusong Centres, then we must do it at our municipalities and not by complaining about the departments. However, it is true that some Thusong Centres are built by the Department of Public Works and the Department of Social Development and some by the GCIS.]
So, we need to co-ordinate that. I think that point is a valid point, but it is also very important to speak to the municipalities as they must be ready to use these Thusong Centres. This is because they always demand these Thusong Centres, but do not have plans on how to utilise them. So we will address that. Thank you for that.
Hon Minister, I hope the International Marketing Council did distribute the South African flag, even in Ventersdorp.
It is very important to discuss the issue of media ownership. I think hon member Kholwane was completely correct. That is why one of the mandates of the Media Development and Diversity Agency is to make sure that they diversify the media in our country.
It is also very important to say that even if people want to argue this issue of ownership because they have access to certain media houses, it's not correct to say ownership does not also affect the outcome or the news that we receive on a daily basis. This is because the editors derive their mandate from the owners of the newspapers and of these media houses. That's why it's very important to also deal with that category.
Let me deal with one point to assist the DA. You see, the DA needs ANC intervention in the DA. I've been told that hon member Mazibuko ... [Interjections.] [Time expired.] [Applause.]
PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Thank you, hon Chairperson. Let me thank the members for the contributions they have made. Most of the contributions that were related to the GCIS were positive contributions. Some of the issues which made the House lively were basically not GCIS issues, so I won't address those. I will just comment on a few things.
I would like to indicate that we have noted the issues which have been raised and the suggestions which have been made by the various members, both from the opposition and from the ruling party, which we think will help enhance the GCIS in doing its work. One of the issues which I would like to address is to clarify the fact that the GCIS is not a media house.
Our role is to communicate government information to citizens, and our medium to do that is through what we have listed as our media and the existing press out there. In order to execute this task, it is important for us to build a mutual relationship and respectable relationship with the press so that we are able to communicate the information which is available in government in order to enable citizens to make proper decisions wherever they have to exercise their rights.
With regard to the translation of the Constitution, you would recall that in 1996 the Constitution was presented in almost all of the languages. Unfortunately, that programme lapsed and most of the Constitution, including the amendments which have been made, might not have been distributed widely. It is an issue which, I think, together with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, we will have to look at to see if we can begin a programme through which we can update the Constitution and make it available in all the languages.
We have noted the issue of the availability of GCIS information or government information in Afrikaans. I think that will have to improve. With regard to the response of the GCIS in relation to what we call service delivery protests, I would like to indicate that the GCIS alone cannot deal with this problem. However, we need to note that there are a number of channels and institutions, both from government and in society, which should have the capacity themselves to provide information and deal with these issues on the ground. The GCIS can only provide support to what other people are doing. This is not an information problem which we face alone. I think we need to appreciate that.
The other issue that was raised is that we spend a lot of money on policy issues - on employing people from outside. I will tackle this together with the issues that were raised with regard to consultants. Currently, the information we have - referring to the issue that was raised of the R20 million - relates to the services we pay SITA, which provides the IT systems to government departments. So this is not a private company that we are paying.
Secondly, we have to do research because the world is now moving towards what is called evidence-based policy formulation. In order for you to be able to formulate policy, you need to have statistical data to assist you to get that information.
We cannot build that capacity in-house. Otherwise, we would become a research institution ourselves. We have to source it from outside and make sure that we utilise the information that is available, which is critical for us to be able to do our work.
Furthermore, there is an issue that is raised from time to time with regard to consultants. Let me answer it in a general manner. Other economies are surviving basically because of the service industry. They have no resources; they have no minerals; they have nothing. What they have is the brains of society. Now, in our attempt to try to cut government expenditure and in our criticisms of government spending money, we have to bear in mind that we are sustaining a very viable economic arm of the economy, which, if properly utilised, can be seen as a strength for the African continent as a source of capacity.
We should not destroy that very little thing which we have. In years to come we may need it. So it is important for us, as we begin to discuss these issues, that we balance the building of all the aspects of the economy and also make sure that we don't spend government resources unnecessarily on issues which we can deal with in-house.
There is an issue which has been raised about defending the ANC or talking about ANC matters. I think you will notice that the GCIS has never commented on matters of party, nor doest it wish to comment on that. Our task is to communicate government information. Those of you who want to engage the ANC outside this forum or in Parliament as you discuss matters amongst yourselves, you are able to do that, but you cannot expect the GCIS to play that role.
Another issue which was raised is that we need to put across the views of others or views contrary to those of government as we communicate. I think what we need to do - and this is my advice - is discuss this with Parliament and see how we can co-ordinate to distribute and disseminate Parliament's information to society, using the infrastructure which we have. This is because we said initially that we were going to utilise constituency offices to place information in front of members in their constituencies about what is happening in government.
I think we may be able to find the way in which we need to do that. But I need to caution that in doing so, we should not be accused of not including minority views. This is because the danger exists that once we begin to do that, we are going to bicker amongst ourselves. Therefore, the role which the GCIS is supposed to perform is likely to be drowned out by the bickering which sometimes takes place in the House.
We need to avoid that type of thing, because once you begin to draw the GCIS into your debate, you will make us respond to Members of Parliament, a thing we do not want to do. We would like to communicate government policy, not to get into arguments with Members of Parliament on any issue. We will have to put across the information which is at the disposal of government and which can assist people to take decisions.
On the issue of the Thusong Centres: We have noted - and, I think, the officials here have noted, or those which have been identified - that we need to see what type of interventions can be done quickly to address the issues which have been raised.
However, it it is important for me to raise one question. When the Thusong Centres were established, they were established as information centres for society. Over the years, and as we have begun to use them, they have been transformed into government service centres - meaning that they not only provide information, but that they also provide services from Home Affairs, from Social Development and from other areas. These issues have direct implications for the budgets of other departments in providing staff, personnel, travel costs and S & T for people who are supposed to go to work in those areas.
So there is an interdepartmental team between ourselves, the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs and the Department of the Public Service and Administration to look at how we can refashion the Thusong Centres to become the service centres which they have already become on their own, without impacting on the programmes of other government departments. We are going to do that and try to assist in that regard.
Regarding the suggestion that was made about the distribution of the flag in Ventersdorp, I think the hon member volunteered to assist the IMC to distribute the flags in Ventersdorp. Thank you very much. [Laughter.]
Thank you, hon Minister. Before the Committee rises ... [Interjections.] Order, please! I must say to the hon members that I am mindful of the long days, and we have more Budget Vote debates coming our way. However, it has been brought to the attention of the Speakership that when we conclude the debate of a committee and before the Chair can even say that the committee will rise, members are already leaving the House. As I say, I am mindful of the long days, but I am also sensitive of the Rules in that we need to close the House correctly.