Hansard: Government Communications and Information System: Debate on Vote No 6
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 14 May 2008
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM: E249
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
WEDNESDAY, 14 MAY 2008
EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY – E249
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in Committee Room E249 at 15:02.
The Deputy Speaker, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY
END OF TAKE
Start of Day
Debate on Vote No 6 – Government Communications and Information System:
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, a very special welcome to five of our Para-Olympians. [Applause.] On 18 May 1998 this House approved the first Government Communication and Information System Budget Vote and this pioneering department was formally launched. As we look back over the ten years, and as we realise that this government's term will be ending within the next year, we can reflect on our successes as a country. They were far-reaching, unprecedented, deep rooted, society-changing successes in which we in the executive, the legislative and the administrative branches of government can all take pride. We reflect on our successes as a government, not from a partisan point of view but inclusively, to ensure that the track record of this government is understood and recognised.
Today we live in a stable democracy. We have a Constitution that is regarded as one of the best in the world. We have macro-economic stability, budget surpluses which are being used to improve the socio-economic conditions of all South Africans, especially the poor, and we are going to host the most spectacular and successful World Cup ever.
As a government we have a responsibility to communicate our successes to our people and the world. We have not only good grounds but a duty to do this, in the interest of balance - bearing in mind the nature and the intent of attacks unjustly launched on us locally and abroad.
In 1994, we understood that we needed both political and economic stability to undertake the enormous task of dealing with social and economic inequalities. Prudent fiscal management by the state, including debt reduction, was an essential precondition for freeing up much needed fiscal resources for social development. We understood that inflation hurts the poor the most, as does the high debt to GDP ratios. So pursuing macro-economic stability was essential to creating a better life for all South Africans.
The International Monetary Fund in its 2007 Report on South Africa was of this view: "South Africa's recent economic performance has been strong. Real GDP growth has been robust, employment has risen, the fiscal position has strengthened further, but unemployment and poverty remain major challenges."
These challenges should impel us to redouble our efforts at poverty eradication. To date, despite the magnitude of these challenges, we need to reflect on what our government has accomplished.
The result of the Income and Expenditure Survey 2005-06 released this year shows that: Real per capita income increased in all income deciles from 2000 to 2005-6, which can only be good for the economy and society - though the increases were uneven; social grants play an important role in reducing inequality as they constitute a major source of income for the poor; real income per capita increased at above average rates for the poorest 30% of the population, as well as the richest 10% contributing significantly to improvements in the socio-economic condition of the poorest in our country. Today over 11 million South Africans receive some form of social grants which ameliorate the impact of poverty.
We can also be proud that we live in a South Africa that cherishes the rule of law and protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizenry, which includes the right to know what their government is doing on their behalf. This right to know is intimately linked to freedom of the media, which we also cherish and protect in South Africa. We hold this view even where media might, wittingly or unwittingly, get it wrong.
So grant me the latitude of a personal interjection. A well-known weekly paper last week reported that: "Presidency strongman Essop Pahad angrily faced down MPs in a marathon study group meeting that lasted until just midnight, according to a person who was present." It was in the Mail and Guardian. On Wednesday night last week I did not attend the study group. I had dinner with relatives and after dinner went home. So I was able miraculously, to achieve a state of bilocation - to be in two places at the same time.[Laughter.]
But I degress. At the recent Heads of State Progressive Governance Summit in London, there was a great deal of intensive discussion about the critical challenges facing us in the contemporary era. There was agreement that the issues we need to address and solve collectively cut deeply across national boundaries but that our collective capacity to deal with them is weak. The four most critical challenges we face are all very much a function of globalisation and they are: Global, regional and national poverty and unemployment; the current international monetary crisis occasioned by the sub-prime debacle in the United States - the first since the Great Depression and monetary crisis of Europe in the 1930s; the re-emergence of food inflation and the potential for global food shortages; and fourth but not last in importance, environmental degradation and global warming. These four challenges find different national forms of expression but the reach of each is undoubtedly global.
We in South Africa recognise that we operate in this global environment and that there are a range of other challenges we face at this juncture, including: Inflation, and in particular the global trend to high food prices; higher crude oil prices which are clearly rippling through domestic economies; the slowdown of economies of the north; higher than expected domestic interest rates; currency fluctuations; sectoral skills shortages; load shedding and its impact on production, productivity, trade and commerce; and
a decline in exports, except for primary products.
Despite these challenges, we are confident that while South Africa's economic growth for this year will slow a bit, growth will still be range bound. We need to cut through the noise of pessimism and communicate this message. South Africa is not entering a recession and we will be ready to host the 2010 World Cup. We need to communicate, communicate and communicate some more.
It is imperative for a democratic development state like ours to intensify open and unmediated communication with our people. We need to communicate our successes in improving the quality of life of our people. We need to identify the challenges we face and we need to ensure that the citizenry know their rights, can access services and know what is happening at the local level. In turn, we need to hear about the challenges the people face, about the blockages to service delivery, so that government and other agencies can make informed decisions about public policy and strategic state interventions at the local level. The focus is on direct, unfettered and unmediated communication. It is imperative for the state to and for parliamentarians to hear directly from the people, for both derive their legitimacy directly from the will of the people.
For this we need a strong GCIS. From its inception with a staff complement of just over 300, GCIS has grown to over 400 staff members with responsibilities, ranging from developing strategies for government communications to ensuring that all government communicators develop their communicative strategies. The core mandate of Government Communications is to meet the communication and information needs of government and the public, such that communication expands access to information and opportunities to enable the people to become active agents in informing decision-making.
The priorities of GCIS for 2008-09 to 2010-11 and beyond are to provide communication on mandated targets of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014, realising the Millennium Development Goals, progress with respect to the APRM Programme of Action, the Asgisa targets, hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup and the Five-Year Strategic Agenda for Local Government Communication. Greater emphasis in this first year of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework will also be on providing communication support to the Apex priorities mentioned by President Mbeki in his state of the nation address on 8 February 2008. GCIS has identified four communication priorities: Building communication partnerships, expanding access to opportunities, promoting continental institutions and programmes and enhancing the government communication system.
Central to the implementation of the priorities is the continued building and strengthening of communication partnerships. Fostering the partnerships against AIDS has been a commitment of GCIS since the partnership was established in 1998. The communication partnership of government and civil society has resulted in the establishment of various task teams, including the communication task team convened by the GCIS and Soul City. The team has, to date produced a simplified version of National Strategic Plan for HIV/Aids and Sexual Transmitted Infections for 2000-11 and translated it into all official languages.
Our partnership with civil society to eliminate violence against women continues under the auspices of the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, which constitutes a foundation for the 365 Days Programme and National Action Plan. Both these campaigns are proof that the partnership between civil society and government is critical if we are to address issues of gender abuse, which wreck the lives of children and women.
Communication for the 2010 World Cup is being used to foster a new level of partnership and integration between the GCIS, key government departments, communication agencies and the private sector. The department has been facilitating the 2010 National Communication Partnership, a voluntary association of public and private sector communicators, working together to take advantage of the 2010 World Cup opportunities for the country and continent. GCIS has upgraded the 2010 Unit to chief directorate level to help improve coordination and cooperation amongst key role-players.
In 2007, the partnership started to link up with communicators on the continent, including through the African Editors' Forum and African Union of Broadcasters. This will facilitate communication of an African World Cup and will also assist with long-term communication of the African agenda. The annual partnership conference is scheduled for July 2008.
The 2010 website, launched on 7 June 2007, is linked to Fifa. During the second quarter of 2007-08, a 1 000-day countdown to 2010 was done with forty community radio stations through live phone–in broadcasts. A government information booklet was printed and distributed. The mass publication of 1 million copies in all official languages and in Braille has been produced and distributed. In 2008-09, our 2010 Unit will contribute towards an information document, which will communicate the benefits of hosting the 2010 World Cup. Our work on 2010 is strengthened by the establishment of the marketing and communication task team that profiles the benefits to the country and the nation as a whole of hosting a World Cup.
The izimbizo programme continues to demonstrate the value of the unmediated, face-to-face communication as the most appropriate method for communication across government.
The transformation of the marketing, advertising and communication industry has made progress in 2007-08. It is envisaged that the gazetting of the Charter for the industry will be finalised this year. GCIS is also a provider of bulk media strategy and buying on behalf of participating national government departments. In this role, the GCIS facilitated the expenditure of R205 698 448, 55 during the 200708 fiscal period, including media expenditure and related production costs. The largest proportion of the media expenditure accrued to radio, 44,2%; followed by newspapers, 22,8%; television,22%; outdoor media, 7,4%; direct and specialist media 3,7%; magazines, 1,8%; cinema and internet both at 0,01%. Savings accruing to government departments as a result of their participation were more than 39% of expenditure and were reinvested into government communications.
In collaboration with National Treasury and the Association for Communication and Advertising, the GCIS also developed best practice guidelines for the procurement of advertising to facilitate participation by emerging Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment companies in government contracts.
The GCIS public entities and the Media Development and Diversity Agency and the International Marketing Council are also making great strides in fostering partnerships in developing media diversity and marketing the SA brand, respectively. Through the MDDA, government and the big print and broadcast media houses have contributed to developing pluralism and diversity in the media.
The primary focus of the MDDA and the IMC is to ensure alignment between the vision and mission of the agencies and of GCIS. There is also an urgent need to finalise the shareholder compact which addresses governance matters, including the clarification of roles and responsibilities between GCIS and the agencies.
The second communication priority is to disseminate information to help overcome the exclusion or marginalisation of a substantial part of our society through shifting towards media with wider reach and by creating new platforms and products with wider appeal.
One of the GCIS' core mandates is broadening the dissemination of the Programme of Action information as outlined in the President's state of the nation address by introducing additional information communication platforms and mechanisms. It will include the development of material that will target specific audiences, such as women and youth. In line with the Languages Act, the department is setting up a language unit to extend its translation capacity of all communication products.
In relation to a second economy initiatives, a sound partnership between GCIS and departments within the Economic Opportunities Project has seen the economic opportunities project being more successful. The 13-part TV series will continue this year with innovative stories of ordinary people who have benefited from the economic opportunities offered by government to improve their lives.
Vukuzenzele continues to make a positive impact on many of our people, with each edition eliciting a wave of enquiries and great interest as evidenced by letter and messages. Four editions of 1,6 million copies, including the Braille versions of each, were printed and distributed. This year, GCIS will continue with the same print run except for the 2 million post-state of the nation bumper edition, out this month.
The use of communication platforms and products targeting Living Standard Measure 1-6 groups continues. A key drive has been the development and distribution of products that target people living in the second economy. The products include using the SABC's African language radio stations and community radio stations for adverts and dramas, placing photo stories in the print media and printing and distribution of the Programme of Action and the izimbizo junction booklet covering the content of the 2008 state of the nation address, the Budget Vote speech and progress with respect to the Programme of Action.
The roll-out of Thusong service centres, formally called multipurpose community centres to broaden public access to government information and services at community level is on track to meet the target of at least one per district municipality by 2014. By the end of March 2008, some 27 new centres were operational bringing the total to 123 operational centres.
In addition to the operationalisation of the new centres, the communication offices in the various centres implemented 3 396 development communication projects and campaigns, including izimbizo, a mass campaign on economic opportunities, 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, and so on.
The third priority is to promote awareness of and engagement with institutions and programmes on continental and regional integration and development. This will enhance appreciation of the intimate link between our own future and that of the rest of the continent. It includes ensuring that the public is kept informed of South Africa's efforts to contribute to the resolution of conflict and the promotion of peace, democracy and development.
We must – we must - as a government and a society condemn all acts of xenophobia, including those that occurred in recent weeks and days. We need to understand that xenophobia has historically been used by right-wing populist movements to mobilise particularly the lumpen-proletariat against minority groups in society. Political mobilisation on the basis of xenophobia poses grave threats to progressive forces in our society and to our democracy.
We would not be here today were it not for the tremendous sacrifices made by our brothers and sisters in the frontline states. They treated all of us in exile with the utmost respect and dignity. Xenophobia and the related acts of violence against our fellow African brothers and sisters have no place in the democratic South Africa. They must be condemned in the strongest terms. I wish to extend my sympathies and condolences to the families of those who have been injured and killed through these dastardly acts.
The Government Communication and Information System continues to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs to raise awareness of developments regarding the African Union and its institutions as well as the Southern African Development Community. GCIS, through the international relations peace and security cluster, profiles the trade agreement activities within the SADC region.
The media awards are currently in their fourth year. In 2008-09, GCIS will encourage the stakeholders in the media industry and civil society to review the purpose of these awards to ensure that a balance of nominations is maintained.
The fourth priority to strengthen the working interface between government and the media is a perennial challenge. This year, GCIS will endeavour to improve access and interaction on information focusing on the work of government so that journalists are better informed of government's plans in order to be better conduits of information to the public.
The SA National Editors' Forum, Sanef, and the Foreign Correspondents' Association of Southern Africa meetings with the executive which are scheduled for later this year will be important to achieving better relations with the media.
GCIS will continue to pay attention to improving relations with the media including inculcating professionalism among communicators. A meeting between Sanef and Cabinet, and a workshop between the media and government – the first one was in June and the other in September last year - contributed towards strengthening relationships. Networking sessions between the media and government were held in September 2007 and February 2008, and more media networking sessions and workshops are planned.
Fostering a positive communication environment is one of our four priorities. The use of BuaNews stories by both community and mainstream media continues to increase. GCIS has signed seven agreements with international news agencies to exchange news and information about the country and the continent. Tomorrow, GCIS will launch the new Bua features, which will profile articles and commentary on issues of critical importance facing the nation.
A review of the functioning of the government-wide communication system is in its second phase. The results will inform interventions required to strengthen GCIS so as to fulfil its mandate more effectively. The system, in the main, continues to improve in terms of co-ordination and ensures integrated planning and implementation around communication priorities.
GCIS continues to work with provinces and the SA Local Government Association to strengthen the local government communication system. To date, provincial core team workshops have been held in almost all provinces to implement the guidelines adopted. Flowing from the provincial workshops held, 34 communications strategies were developed for certain district municipalities.
Since GCIS was established, the budget allocated to it has, thanks to the support of the portfolio committee and Parliament as a whole, grown from R48,7 million in 1998-99 to R294 580 in 2006-07. The budget allocation for 2007-08 was R384 012 million, and by March 2008, through close management of expenditure, GCIS had spent 99,1% of the overall budget.
Today we are presenting a budget of R418 255 million, an increase of R28 702 million for the 2008-09 fiscal year. Over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period, overall spending is estimated to increase at an average annual nominal growth of 9,8%, mainly due to GCIS and IMC activities in preparation for the 2010 World Cup as well as government's initiatives in second-economy interventions.
Our government's communication strategy must be coherent and directed at realising the right of our people to information, the realisation of our national development objectives, the promotion of social cohesion and the empowerment of our people. We must, all of us, actively participate in the debates and decisions about our collective future. To do this, our people need information, and they need their voices to be heard. This entails two-way communication, where we account to the people and where we hear from them. Participatory democracy places the people at the centre of the historic project of transformation.
I would like to thank the GCIS staff. They are here with us. In particular, I'd like to thank Themba Maseko, who is the CEO, and the senior management for their hard work. In addition, I would like to thank the staff, the boards and the chairs of the International Marketing Council and the Media Development and Diversity Agency for their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank the staff at all the Thusong Centres for their efforts in bringing government closer to the people.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the portfolio committee for all its hard work and dedication over the past year. I commend the GCIS budget to the House. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr I VADI
END OF TAKE
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY
Mr I VADI: Madam Deputy Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce this debate for the first time on behalf of the ANC. My colleagues from the ANC will speak later on the specific entities linked to the Government Communication and Information System such as the Media Development and Diversity Agency. I will, therefore, focus on the GCIS as a system, rather than on specific entities.
This year, as the Minister has pointed it out, the GCIS is 10 years old. I think in four days' time it will be exactly 10 years old. It has come a long way since the dissolution of the old apartheid era communications organ known as the SA Communications Service. While the old service was used for indoctrination and propaganda purposes, GCIS is essentially there to keep the public informed of government programmes and activities.
So, in one sense this debate is a celebratory event and may we wish the GCIS a happy tenth birthday. But, in another, it should be an occasion for us to evaluate our communications and information system as a whole.
The GCIS' original mandate was to achieve an integrated, co-ordinated and coherent government communication and information system. The specific goals were: Firstly, to widen access to information that would enable our people to participate in the country's transformation and development so as to better their own lives; secondly, to bring the dynamic realities of our young and thriving democracy to the attention of the international community; and thirdly to promote the Renaissance of Africa.
That mandate remains valid today as it was a decade ago. It is heartening to note that the GCIS has made strides in fulfilling this mandate.
Today, the GCIS stands out as the principal communications and information organ of our government, both internationally and domestically.
Internationally, the IMC has scored enormous successes in projecting a positive image of our country. It has ensured that South Africa punches above its weight in international markets. This is the case, in spite of the concerted negative campaigns, to run down our country by some South Africans living abroad, selected foreign media agencies and I dare say, even some governments. The IMC has strengthened tourism from Western countries to South Africa and it has encouraged many South Africans living abroad to return home. While this successful approach should be maintained, the ANC is pleased to note that the IMC is refocusing its attention to other markets such as India, Brazil, China and states in the Gulf and on the African continent.
Domestically, the GCIS has to ensure that all the information released by government to the public is timely, accurate, authentic and coherent. Such information should empower our people to better interpret their country and the world and to help them make responsible decisions about their lives. To this end, the GCIS has introduced communication programmes that have benefited the public.
Among its notable successes are the following: The hosting of post-Cabinet briefings which promotes transparency of government, though the question still hangs over who specifically should be doing these briefings. There is a view in the committee at least that the head of GCIS should not be directly involved in Cabinet briefings. It might be advisable to appoint a Cabinet's spokesperson specifically for this task.
Linked to these Cabinet briefings are the cluster briefings to the media at regular intervals by a collection of Ministers. These are useful because they give an overall sense of what is happening in a particular cluster and a global picture of developments within Ministries.
Thirdly, the GCIS must be commended for practising development communications through an interactive magazine such as Vukuzenzele and providing free new stories on government delivery through BuaNews; and finally GCIS has promoted the principle of cost effectiveness through sharing media resources relating to design, research and bulk buying.
It is now broadly understood and accepted that the GCIS is primarily responsible for the development of a national strategic framework for all government communications. It hopes to guide and to co-ordinate all structures at all levels of government in their daily communications. Although is has established several co-ordinating mechanism such as the government communication forum it is still too early to tell whether or not these structures are having the desired effect. We must ask the question: Is GCIS at the cutting edge of media in the country? Is it the key instrument that shapes public perceptions and opinions of our government or is this race won by private media houses? That is the critical question. Who shapes public opinion about government?
It seems to me that GCIS does exceptionally well when there is a noncontentious story to be told, but it falters when confronted with controversies. Let me cite and example to make a point. When the story of Khalid Rashid, who was deported under extraordinary circumstances from South Africa to Pakistan, hit the headlines, government communications presented an inchoate picture. The Department of Home Affairs gave one story; the SA Police Services another story; and the intelligence services yet another story. As pressure mounted from civil society and human rights groups declaring that this was in effect a rendition, government communications struggled with its incoherent messaging. It finally rested on the shoulders of the former head of GCIS to belatedly give a simple and straight-forward explanation of what happened and the reasons for it.
Similarly, in the case of Eskom's load shedding, the following messages are out in the public irrespective of what government says but this is the message and the perception out there in all its crudeness: Blackouts are here to stay; huge increases are on their way; fat cat managers will get their bonuses; we are sorry for the pain well actually, we are not cutting supply anymore but save electricity if you can. And this is a bad story and the communication was poorly handled.
We can now see that when the system is under pressure, it struggles. I think and underlying problem is the low skills based of some government communicators and the poor conceptualisation on their part of government policy and programmes. So the struggle between the GCIS continues between balancing he role of the GCIS as a passive co-ordinator of communications and actively steering communications at different levels that is internationally, nationally, provincially or locally and or on behalf of state-owned entities. I don't think at this stage that the right balance has been struck and that the established co-ordinating mechanisms are functioning smoothly and efficiently.
When one looks at the communications and information system as a whole, it is evident that significant progress has been made since 1998. But the ANC is clear that much more needs be done to make GCIS a razor-sharp tool in public communications.
The ANC is, therefore pleased that GCIS is undertaking its own review of its entire programme and its structures. We look forward to receiving the final review report later this year, at the same time we can say with confidence and pride that GCIS has laid a solid basis for a durable government communications and information system. Therefore we support this Vote. [Applause.]
Ms M SMUTS
END OF TAKE
Mr I VADI
Ms M SMUTS: Hon Minister, Mr Joel Netshitenze has been in my thoughts while I was preparing for this debate, because we bade him farewell during this debate – was it two years ago? I think it was two years ago. This, I assume, is the hon Minister's goodbye Budget.
If you remember, Mr Netshitenze told us, at the dinner which you held for him after the Budget debate, that he had bought his very first suit ever for the occasion, but as he stepped out here on our way to dinner in the Good Hope building he got rained upon and, in his words, the suit's fabric was compromised. [Laughter.]
This hon Minister will also leave office a little crumpled and dishevelled and I do not mean sartorially – may I compliment you on your pin-stripe outfit today. [Laughter.] The hon Minister will, in fact, at the end of this term leave office a little rumpled and dishevelled, because he is trouble-prone. I don't intend to rain on his parade today, because the activities for which he gets into trouble tend to be extra-curricular; frequently related to the SABC which is not his; it's our place.
I don't wish to rain on his parade today because the two agencies and the department under his wing are, in fact, very good. If you think that all of them were built up from scratch ten years ago, that is something. In the case of the Government Communication and Information System it has always struck us as professional. They can't be blamed for the content of what Ministers, departments or other spheres of government say. With respect to hon Vadi, they are taught how to communicate, but the GCIS can't control what they say, because then the entire system of government would be in the hands of a GCIS master's voice.
It seems to me that I can hear the fruits of some of the GCIS' work in the stream of advertising, often from departments, but also from provincial governments and often accompanied by choral music. The Mpumalanga Arrive Alive campaign I thought was wonderful and it was incessant – too beautiful, the choral music. I am convinced there is something in the air in Mpumalanga, because the Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga, likewise, they are keen and talented communicators.
I hear government departments advertising all the time; I hear provincial governments and so something, I think, is working and I repeat I don't think GCIS is necessarily responsible for content. The Media Development and Diversity Agency – forgive me, I am not going to say more than a few words – you know is an entity that we admire for their probity. They are so proper; they are so correct; they do such good work; and they are now poised for much bigger money and much bigger things.
What I do wish to talk about today is the International Marketing Council, because I think that that entity is affected by the turbulence of the present times. It was that International Marketing Council that introduced us to the concept of country branding. They quote, to this day, to us the work of Simon Anholt –
When we express a preference for French holidays, German cars, or Italian opera; when we instinctively trust the policies of the Swedish government; comment on the ambition of the Japanese; the bluntness of the Americans or the courtesy of the British; We are responding to brand images in exactly the same way as when we're shopping for clothing or food. But these are far bigger brands than Nike or Nestlé. They are the brands of nations.
In no time at all after the IMC embarked on this work, we learnt that Mr Nelson Mandela was second only to Coca-Cola in international brand recognition. Although the idea of a comparison between Mr Mandela and a tin of Coke is a little difficult, we had to accept that globalization means that countries compete for attention, for respect, and for the trust of investors, tourists, immigrants, and governments. So, we should have been so lucky.
Apparently nation branding on the model that the IMC follows combines people's perceptions across six areas of competence which they arrange for organogrammic purposes into a hexagon. These are investment and immigration, tourism, people, culture and heritage, exports, and governance – meaning competency, fair governance, human rights, and international contribution.
It is quite clearly on this last area that we are coming unstuck. Our transition from apartheid to democracy, from division to unity, made us famous and celebrated and Mr Mandela was its emblem. However, leaders are not like Coca-Cola; they are not manufactured from a secret recipe invented in Atlanta. People are, in fact at the end of the day, not products.
Our system of government is our point of pride. Our sitting hon President has become increasingly unmarketable the more he departed, in fact, at home and abroad, from the values and the precepts of that system. However, he is the sitting President of this country – he is the sitting President – and the IMC, we believe, cannot get involved in the succession. When President Mbeki lost power within his party it was our impression that the IMC had embarked on some reputation management, relationship management which amounted, we thought, to a kind marketing of Mr Zuma abroad.
It was not hard, we thought, to imagine why; to imagine the pressing need that the IMC felt to shore up investor confidence. This body has a constellation of leading businesspersons on its board; a real constellation of stars. One understands their concern about the loss of business confidence. That kind of approach could obviously very easily lead into a crossing into the political terrain and because of this we suggested to the IMC yesterday that they should stay away from politics or the governance dimension of the six point brand bible and simply market for trade and tourism.
They instructed us that that is, in fact, what they do. They do investment, trade, and tourism and those six sides of the hexagon are simply variables which need to be understood. We have respect and admiration for the IMC's quite wonderful work done with very few resources over the seven years of its existence. Just look at the folder we were given yesterday; it is beautiful. Look at the latest international advertising which they did with very few resources. It's a wraparound on Time Magazine; there is a movement here you can't ignore. It has been truly quite wonderful work and that work has placed South Africa among the top countries for recognition. It takes doing. We are sure Mr Roy Marcus, one of those board members, spoke true yesterday when he said that they were actually making history.
Yesterday we received their assurance that they do not market individuals or political parties. The fact is that the piece of work by the IMC's United Kingdom country manager, John Battersby writing in that capacity, which appeared here under the heading "Zuma hits the right buttons in Europe" sounds like marketing to me. I will hold it for you in a minute.
Let me tell you what John says. Mr Battersby, somewhat breathlessly, tells readers how investors and opinion leaders were reassured to find a responsive, open, and pragmatic leader in Mr Zuma who espouses investor-friendly economic policy and ways of dealing with poverty. I quote now, "It contrasted with media stereotypes forged by his acquittal in a rape trial and corruption charges he is facing in relation to the arms deal". What are we supposed to think? If that contrasts with their impression, shouldn't there be a corruption charge?
What is the IMC doing defending a person who has been charged with corruption? We note the quote from Mr Zuma in here - his assurances to his audience that the law has to take its course and he would stand down in the event of conviction. We also know that there is strong sentiment in some business circles in favour of a so-called arms deal amnesty and we consider the proposal unacceptable. A country either believes in law enforcement and a system of criminal justice or it does not. It can't make expedient exceptions as the sitting President has apparently tried to do.
The IMC should emphasise, I would think, South Africa's democratic system if it wants to bring governance into the equation and all that it has told us, and I always learn from them, that you have to address all six ends. The IMC, I argue, should then emphasise the quality of our system, but what do we find? After giving us a paragraph about successful Asian economies where political liberalisation and political rights only came after economic success – that is something else I sometimes hear in business circles – after giving us this paragraph, Mr Battersby tells us that South Africa and India have well-established democracies but will need to adjust their models to deal with poverty in a rapidly changing world.
What does this mean? Is it about a looming leftward economic lurch? Is he presumptively excusing inroads into our democracy? What does this mean? It appears under his name and capacity as a United Kingdom country manager for the IMC and it is written against the background of a couple of introductory paragraphs about the crumbling moral high ground and the greed of the developed countries. So, I have problems with this.
The other aspect of the IMC's work, which has always held a potential danger of making inroads into our democracy, is its domestic messaging, of which this may, in fact, have been part since it was published here; the internal work aimed at encouraging what the IMC calls patriotism. We have always, through the years every time we saw the IMC, warned against political abuse of this role. In reply we always have heard from Yvonne Johnstone that the brand concept required that the brand promise should be fulfilled.
In fact, the IMC board has insisted on an increased spend and an adjusted internal strategy. It wants a more positive one. In this respect it seems to have clashed with Yvonne Johnstone. If so, if that is what the matter was, it means that Yvonne has taken our warnings to heart and we remain her admirers. Here is the difficulty: of course I am sure there should be an internal dimension even thought this entity is called the International Marketing Council, but here, if it is true as they say, that all citizens of South Africa are the true custodians of the brand and that the IMC must amongst other things articulate our views, I would think that the IMC should think really carefully about increasing its focus on domestic mobilisation in a campaign co-founded – please note – by Eskom.
Eskom is contributing R5 million to a campaign asking the nation to tell us about their ideal country in order to inspire them with a motivating message "to join a movement for the good". The idea of Eskom contributing here to a campaign to pump up patriotism, what can I say? You know the famous old American dictum that patriotism is the last refuge. So, although we see the need for some internal work, we do repeat our annual warning that there are potential difficulties.
The IMC answers us. They say inspiring South Africans cannot be the core of their work – they agree – but they say they have to do it, because their international work is eroded by local sentiment. To this end they try to influence the media to strike a balance so that South Africans don't wake up with a negative mood. You know what I am trying to say: It's not the media's job to put us in a good mood. Thank you.
Mr R D PIETERSE
END OF TAKE
Ms M SMUTS
Mr R D PIETERSE: Hon Speaker, am I allowed to give half of my time to Mrs Smuts just to continue or will I be out of order? She's my friend.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: We need to get a ...
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, we would welcome that.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: We need to get a ...
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, we would welcome that.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, please, hon members. Honourable Bloem would you please manage the voice so that I allow the honourable member to address us and Mr Ellis, you are not recognised. Please take your seat.
Mr R D PIETERSE: Mam, you understand the meanings of drum and base and he can provide that.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I want you to participate in the debate, sir and not tell me who is your friend and who is not.
Mr R D PIETERSE: He provides the drum and base for the music, hon Deputy Speaker. Allow me to thank the ANC for allowing me to participate in the debate of the GCIS Budget vote.
The GCIS was never intended to be mass-based, an everywhere, doing everything, keeping everybody happy structure but rather a manageable, strategic and very focused group with effective communication strategies from government to the people and to the outside world. This strategy includes setting up of strategic and very focus substructures, i e the MDDA and the IMC.
Under the then collective leadership of which comprised of President Thabo Mbeki, then Deputy President and current President of the ANC Jacob Zuma, Minister Essop Pahad and CEO Joel Netshitendze it started off very well and continued under the current leadership which now includes two new team members; that's the current Deputy President sitting next to me, obviously taking note of my input, as well as the current CEO Themba Maseko. They are doing good and even better than we did before.
Agb lede my kollega en kameraad sal hopelik later meer hieroor uitbrei, maar wil tog voorstel dat in die afwesigheid van ten minste een Thusong Diensstrum in elke minisipaliteit dat ons as Parlementêre kiesafdelingskantore gebruik word, vir die verspreiding van dokumente soos voorsien deur die GCIS.
Voorsitter ek verteenwoordig namens die ANC seker die mooiste munisipaliteit in die land. Dit is die Bitou- munisipaliteit onder leiding van Burgemeester Lulama Mvimbi en sy span. Dit sluit in Plettenbergbaai, wat soort van internasionaal geword het met die teenwoordigheid van ryk Belge, Britte en die Switsers en die Duitsers; die mense met die groot geld. Maar aan die ander kant van dieselfde munsstuk staar die kru realiteit 'n mens direk in die oë: Dienslewering vind plaas teen 'n goeie pas maar verskriklike armoede is steeds daar. Hoë werkloosheid, gemiddelde skoolopleiding, siektes wat natuurlik Vigs insluit, ens. Maar die mense is nie sonder hoop nie, want ons is in die tyd van hoop. Soos apartheid en onderdrukking oorkom het, glo ons sal ons ook die eersgenoemde armoede en werkloosheid oorkom. Hoe goed dit ook vandag met ons gaan, glo ons in daardie area vernaam is ek dood seker in die land sal dit more beter gaan, as vandag.
Daar is een ding wat die Minister vroeër genoem het en dit is `n bron van kommer is en dit is die kwessie van xenofobie. Dit gaan my verstand te bowe dat arm swartmense van Suid-Afrika baklei teen arm swartes van Afrika. Waarom mense dit doen, weet ek nie. Die enigste kritiek wat ek wil lewer is dat dit lyk of ons net iets daaromtrent sê wanneer dit in die media verskyn, soos onlangs in Alexandra. Ons het dit gesien in Khutsong, in Mosselbaai, in ;Knysna ons sien dit in Oceanview. Waarom is daar nie voortdurend `n veldtog soos ons baklei het teen apartheid, teen rassisme wat tussen ons gebeur op 'n daaglikse basis. Net wanneer dit in die media kom, wil ons iets daaromtrent doen. Dit kan nie so aangaan nie want dit breek ons beeld af. Ons praat van die 2010 Wêreldbeker Sokker as 'n Afrikaveldtog. As ons nie nou met mekaar kan saamlewe as Afrikaners nie, hoe kan ons meer twee jaar later? Ons moet ons sukses as 'n land meet aan hoe goed kan saamleef as een mens.
Ek wil tog sê: Agbare lede, hierdie mense waarvan ek praat is die mense wat ons vind; die pragtige mense wat ons in Qwanakatuhle, in New Horizon, Wittedrif, Harkerville, Bossiesgif en Kranshoek. Hulle staan op die strand van Plettenbergbaai, afgeëts teen die agtergrond van 'n reënboog wat raak aan die pot goud van ons as een mens. En die son wat deur die wolke, breek om vir ons hello te sê. Die munisipaliteit van Bitou makeer 'n gemeenskapsradio en ons makeer dit dringend. En daarom wil ek graag net die aandag vestig op die MDDA wat weet daar kom 'n gemeenskapsradio en hulle moet bystaan om ons tot hulp te wees met opleiding en met die aanbied van werkswinkels.
The MDDA, honourable Minister, under the leadership of MS Gugu Msibi and CEO Lumko Mtimde is doing great work under very difficult conditions and budgetary constraints. While they have a budget of about R28 million the demand for help and assistance is closer to the R150 million mark. I want suggest to the hon Minister that you discuss with the Minister of Communications the funding, moral and licensed conditions of these community radio stations. I have been visiting some of them and they are battling and some of them moved of there point to stay alive because those that pays for ads, such as the private funders dictate the pace and the direction of these community radio stations.
The Electronic Communications Act makes provision for the relevant collection and distribution of funds where they are most needed. One of the things might be happening: Regulations from Icasa could be outstanding to do it or the money for the redress and assistance are given to the wrong structure, thus it does not get to those who need it most. Secondly, without proper and public funding, the advertiser, as I said earlier, and private funders dictate the pace and the direction of such communications radio and bring them potentially in conflict with their own purposes. These financial pressures very often are brought to the MDDA when they are approached for help and when you start to work with them, then you see it has very little to do with the actual training but the financial pressures are too severe and the people cannot keep up with a particular need.
The one area that we are seriously lacking, hon members, is the development of community newspapers in its real sense. The MDDA cannot start it other than assist, guide and train those who come for assistance. Again, Gugu and Lumka and your team, you are doing good work. The problem is: Where and when will people start such community newspapers? I am not talking about your big media houses sending out a small paper like your Metro Burger. It should be a true community newspaper. Minister, maybe we should consider the resolution on funding of the public broadcaster as adopted by the ANC in Stellenbosch and strengthened in Polokwane, or you will lose those community radio stations. The big bucks will take over and give direction. We need to seriously sit down, Minister Pahad, to talk about these newspapers and make it work. I want to measure our success against the development of these community radios, as well as the newspapers and see that people could read about themselves and their own stories in their own papers. It is important other than just broadcasting. The printed word must go out. Other than just books. Books are important but the newspapers are equally as important and we seem to be not focussing on that.
In conclusion, remember, hon members, the ANC lives and the ANC leads, Ms Smuts. We as the ANC will continue to fight to improve the lives of our people. [Interjections.] We will never give up, Mr Ellis. We will never give up on our responsibility and our duty. We will continue to give hope to our people. We will continue to communicate with all our people, including those that the DA claim to be theirs. We will use public platforms, the printed word, as well as electronic communication, to communicate our message of hope. The GCIS must be and is the main vehicle to reach our people for them to know what the people's government is doing. Members, when I say "Amandla", it means the people and the people's party will support this Budget Vote. Amandla!
Minister Essop, I have a message from my mayor. It seems that you know each other. He claims that I must say that you and your team are invited to the most beautiful municipality, at least in this country, if not in Africa. That is Bitou Municipality with the main town of Plettenberg Bay. [Interjections.] Of course we will pay the bill. The ANC supports this Budget Vote. Amandla. Viva the people! Viva! [Applause.]
Mr V B NDLOVU
END OF TAKE
Mr R D PIETERSE
Mr V B NDLOVU: Chairperson, the IFP has consistently supported the Government Communication and Information Service Budget Vote as we acknowledge that government must communicate its policies, plans and programmes to the citizens of our country. This year is no different but we will register our various concerns in the time that we have. The GCIS states in its report to Parliament that fostering a positive communication environment is one of its core priorities. It admits, however, that the relationship between government and the media continues to be up and down.
It cannot be easy to promote a government gripped with internal political infighting and with the Ministers, department officials and party-political ANC alliances functionaries continuously sending out mixed messages on all manner of important issues. When Eskom plunges the country into the darkness and our mines have to shut down, just how much of a positive spin can the GCIS put on that calamity? They have our sympathy.
There are more murders and rapes and other physical assaults in South Africa every year than in countries in the grip of conflicts and wars. The airport gangs follow unsuspecting tourists and rob and attack them. The example of what a tough job it must be for the GCIS to always look at the bright side of life in South Africa is very much awkward.
Kuyingxenyana khona. [Uhleko.][Just a little part.][Applause.]
So, what does the political leadership of the GCIS do in the midst of all this? They fire one of their best strategic communicators whose job was, in part, to encourage international investment and tourism. One can only wonder what the tight-knit international marketing community thought when the highly respected head of the International Marketing Council, IMC, Ms Yvonne Johnson, was recently fired overnight.
It is no secret that an attempt by IMC to assist the new ANC President, Mr Jacob Zuma, with formulating some consistent and clear messages about Brand South Africa after his recent disastrous BBC interview was her downfall.
Sekungaze kuxoshwe umuntu impela bakithi ngenxa yokwelekela umuntu nje? [Uhleko.][Was it necessary to dismiss someone just because she helped somebody?] [Laughter.]
It is, after all, the job of the IMC to promote the best image possible of South Africa and its leaders, whoever they may be. Her excellent work, over many years, in building Brand South Africa must be applauded and our thanks go to her for so professionally sending out the message that South Africa is, indeed, alive with possibilities. Nobody, including the IFP, has swallowed the cover-up of her being fired because of a breakdown in her relationship with the GCIS.
The powers-that-be are suspected to replace her with a political appointment. I hope it won't happen because of what has happened with the SABC. The GCIS show must, nevertheless, go on. For the most part, they are a hard-working team who deserves our support. Much need to be disseminated and six key campaigns, as outlined by the GCIS, look good on paper. The focus issues relating to, firstly, governance and administration within South Africa; secondly, international relation, peace and security; thirdly, economic investment and employment; fourthly, justice, crime prevention and security; fifthly, the social sector; and, sixthly, various other transversal campaigns, including the National Strategic Plan for HIV/Aids and 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup are clearly required and will require expertise and commitment of the highest order.
Numerous other programmes and sub-programmes include, of course, the International Marketing Council and the Media Development and Diversity Agency are doing excellent work in promoting local media development and diversity. Policy and research, government media liaison, GCIS handbook and magazine production are just some of the activities that are applauded.
The IFP specifically acknowledges the work of the GCIS that has continuously attempted to partner with civil society on issues relating to violence against women and children as well as HIV/Aids. We need to hear more about the efficacy of these partnerships. How well are they working and to what degree? Has there been a substantive analysis of these outreaches? More information on the research being conducted is required. We support the Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S N NXUMALO
END OF TAKE
Mr V B NDLOVU
Mr S N NXUMALO: Chairperson, Deputy President, hon Ministers, hon members, officials of the departments, esteemed guests present, today we are debating Budget Vote 6, Government Communications and Information Service. The main aim of this department is to provide a comprehensive communication service on behalf of government to facilitate the involvement of the majority of South Africans in government, through reconstruction, development, nation-building and reconciliation. This is not a state propaganda machinery, but it is to inform and educate the public on what the state is doing for them.
Its inception marked an end to South African Information Service or SACS. As an integral part of apartheid, SACS was used as an instrument to deprive the majority of our people of access to information.
However, when the ANC took over in 1994, government communication evolved bought from being a segregation machine to being a medium of information for all citizens. In fact, this is a foundation principle of the GCIS, which draws its mandate from section 16 of the Bill of Rights and which guarantees all citizens freedom of expression, including the right to receive information. Thanks to the capable hands of the Minister and the CEO for a job well done.
The vision is to help meet the communication and information needs of government and the public, so as to ensure effective dialogue between government, organised stakeholders and the public. On 18 May 2008 the GCIS will celebrate its 10-year anniversary. It is therefore fitting to congratulate the department on its successes and also highlight its achievement to date.
Their achievements are as follows: The state of nation address of 2007 which, profiled and promoted the government programme through multimedia campaign to citizens to seize opportunities that hold government accountable; a mass campaign on economic opportunities to show case communities who have been benefited in government's programme on a TV series Azishe Ke! The program is on the public broadcaster's African language radio stations. The 16 Days of Activism Campaign continues to raise awareness around women and child abuse and has succeeded in strengthening the partnership with all the sectors of the society in this regard. The izimbizo programmes provided opportunity for government to meet with communities face to face as an effective methodology to meet the needs of the community.
A total of 6, 4 million copies of Vukuzenzele were printed and distributed. Braille versions were also printed and distributed. The distribution is targeted at the previously disadvantaged areas, especially the deep rural communities. By mid -January 2008, 17 of the 20 earmarked additional Thusong Service centres became operational.
Millions of photo stories in the print media, pamphlets, booklets and articles on various government activities were printed. BuaNews used by both community and mainstream media increased in 2007. The GCIS has also been proudly involved in the co-ordinating and establishing the 2010 communication structures in government and civil society for the Fifa Soccer World Cup. All this information shows that over the years GCIS has grown from strength to strength.
Although South Africa is vast and has two economies in one country, we have the very rich who does not care about Vukuzenzele or BuaNews, as they their eyes glued on the stock market, and have never experienced to sleep without anything to eat and they have properties with many toilets ...[Laughter.] These people have plenty of water and flush their toilets while our people in some parts of South Africa depend on Vukuzenzele or BuaNews to hear about government programs, including water and sanitation. These publications have championed all information on government and delivery projects.
We know that in our areas there are no roads infrastructure, water, and no toilets that we were talking about that time..
Itshe lentaba lilahlwa nje esigangeni bese kushishilizwa ezidindini. [Uhleko.]
... GCIS, we still have a long way to go to address the ills of the past. Knowledge is power. We want to ensure that our people have easy access to government information, and as the former Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan said: "Knowledge is power information is liberating." We want to ensure that through GCIS our people in remote areas enjoy the benefits of our liberation struggle.
The distribution of government communication throughout our provinces is welcome. These offices must be strengthened as well as district communications offices. I read with a sad face that there is a decrease of 1,3% in the budget allocation. The decrease in real terms is as a result of the reduction in expenditure on the provincial co-ordination subprogramme, which is responsible for managing and coordination of partnership and stakeholders in support of provincial directorates.
It was pleasing to walk in to one GCIS' offices at Nkandla, well- equipped and with the personnel very knowledgeable, well up to date with information of government. This is my constituency, and now GCIS, with my constituency office, are helping the people of Nkandla well. We will make sure that equipment will be kept in good condition at all times. This project is owned by the communities of Nkandla and nothing will happen to it.
Umsebenzi wezimbizo muhle kakhulu. Uhulumeni uya kubantu bese abantu bekhuluma naye ngqo. Bayakwazi futhi ukubeka ukuhlupheka kwabo ngokuthi bakhulume umlomo nomlomo nohulumeni. Abantu abaningi basuke bengakaze bambone uMongameli wezwe ngamehlo kodwa lezi zimbizo ziveza amathuba amahle okubona uhulumeni eseduze. Ezindaweni eziningi zasemakhaya lapho kwaya khona lolu hlelo lwezimbizo abantu sebasizakala.
Izindawo eziningi lapha eNingizimu Afrika zisesemuva kwezentuthuko. Abantu bakhala kakhulu ngamanzi, imigwaqo kanye nezikhungo zikahulumeni ezikude ezisemadolobheni okudingeka ukuthi umuntu agibele uma eya khona kanti nemali ayibonwa. Nokho, niphoxa ngento eyodwa nina bantu bakwa-GCIS ngoba anibe nisabuyela emuva niyobona ukuthi kwasala kwenzekani emuva kwezimbizo lezo. [Uhleko.] Uma ngenza isibonelo nje, ngonyaka ka-2005 ngesikhathi umhlonishwa uZuma eseyiPhini likaMongameli wezwe ehamba nethimba lakhe, kwaba nembizo eyayikanise kuleya ndawo esigodini senkosi uShange. Abantu bafika ngobiningi babo. Babebulala inyoka. Basho konke ukuhlupheka kwabo.
Kusukela lapho uMsholozi akaphindange wabuthi quthu ubuthongo. Sasehla senyusa sizama ukubhekana nezinkinga ezazibekwe abantu. Noma sekukhona osekwenzekile, i-GCIS kodwa ayikubikeli umphakathi njengokwakhiwa komgwaqo laphaya osuka eNkadla uye eShowe nase-Kranskop ngemali engangezigidi ezinga-400 zamarandi; kwafakwa namanzi abantu ababekhala ngawo ngemali engangezigidi ezinga-300 zamarandi; emasontweni amabili edlule kusanda kuhlatshwa isoyi esakhiweni se-One Stop Shop esizoba nezitolo ezingi ezehlukene esizokwakhiwa ngezigidi ezinga-27 zamarandi; kanye nesikhungo lapho kushiywa khona okuthile okwesikhashana ebizwa nge-drop-in centre ezokwakhiwa ngezigidi eziyi-10,5 zamarandi.
Siyacela-ke ukuthi lezi zinto ezinjena, ngoba imisebenzi emihle nokuyimiphumela yezimbizo, i-GCIS ibuye izozibhala ukuze umphakathi uzazi. Olunye udaba engizoluthinta kancane nje yilolu olubizwa ngokuthi i-egovernance. Lolu daba kubukeka sengathi sekungoloMnyango Wezokuxhumana kuphela kanti luwusizo. Laba bezokuxhumana bavele balufake emaposini kulezi zigxotshana ezibomvu okuthiwa ama-PIT. Lungasiza uma lo Mnyango ungase uluthathe lolu hlelo uluyise emakhaya ngoba thina siyahlupheka, ngoba kuye kudingeke ukuthi sigibele kanti nemali ayikho siye emadolobheni siyofuna izikhungo zikahulumeni kanti ubungavele ungcafaze le mishini nje luphume lolu sizo esilufunayo, ukuze nabantwana bethu abahlezi emakhaya bakwazi ukuthola imisebenzanyana ukuze bathole okuya ngasethunjini.
In order for government to efficiently fulfil its socioeconomic objectives, it needs to communicate with stakeholders on an ongoing basis. This is reflected in a budget allocation to the GCIS. The ANC welcomes an amount of R418,2 million allocated to GCIS. This represents an increase of 8.9% or R34,2 million in nominal terms. The department got a clean audit in 2006-07, and it is pleasing that GCIS spend 99%.In conclusion the portfolio committee raised serious concern over GCIS' CEO being the Cabinet spokesperson...
Uma simbona nje ubaba uMaseko kumabobakude, siyazi ukuthi ukhulumela iKhabhinethi. Siyacela-ke, mhlonishwa Ngqongqoshe, ukuthi usitholele owethu we-GCIS noma nizitholele owenu umkhulumeli weKhabhinethi. [Uhleko.] Uma neza njena, niyasididisa.
... GCIS has a room for improvement. In the words of the great American scholar, Ralph Waldo Emerson, "the task of self-improvement is never-ending." The ANC supports the budget. I thank you. (Applause.)
Ms M R MORUTOA
END OF TAKE
Mr S N NXUMALO
Ms M R MORUTOA: Hon Chairperson, hon Deputy President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, guests and members of the civil society, the International Marketing Council was established by the President of South Africa in August 2000 to create a positive and united image of South Africa. It was brought into being upon the realisation that it was absolutely imperative to create a positive compelling nationbrand for South Africa.
At the time, there were many messages from and about South Africa entering the international arena. These messages were as varied as the source, and diluted the effect of South Africa's different marketing efforts and undermined South Africa's brand. It was evident that a great need existed for a body, able to co-ordinate the various marketing initiatives, in order to maximise their efficiency and effectiveness. In all, it was essential to establish an integrated approach within government, the private sector and civil society towards the international marketing of South Africa.
In pursuit of its objectives, the IMC has specific marketing objectives, to mention but a few: Managing South Africa's reputation by providing context and balance in the news and approaching the media proactively rather than reactively, encouraging patriotismand national pride within South Africa.
South Africa needs to perform at its peak when the eyes of the world are focused on it. As a country regularly hosting significant worldwide events and with the 2010 Fifa World Cup looming, it is crucial that these are utilised to the full extent.
Commonly known as a gateway to Africa, South Africa is currently the most sophisticated and promising player in the emerging markets stable and home to 6% of the continent's population. South Africa produces approximately 18% of Africa's GDP and boasts 45% of its mineral production and 50% of its purchasing power. All of these have led to the domestic economy recording strong consistent performance in the postapartheid era.
South Africa has experienced a significant growth rate in the tourism sector since 1994. Global rankings of top tourism destination put South Africa at 32d position in 2005, in terms of absolute size. The South African tourism industry shows an average growth of 6% over the past five years with steady increases in the number of long haul visitors from major foreign markets, given the important economic growth played by tourism.
The government's Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa has identified tourism as an immediate high priority sector. Both government and the private sector look tothe tourist industry as a source of economic and employment growth. Tourism is also a major source of tax revenue and has stimulated investments in infrastructure such as the new terminal at the O R Tambo International Airport, the Gautrain, high-speed link and soccer stadiums across the country in advance of the 2010 World Cup.
I assure you fellow members, since the end of apartheid in 1994, the consolidation of democracy and an viable economic stability has created both a new set of opportunities and challenges all aimed at social transformation. Within each challenge there is an opportunity. There is now an ever greater demand for consistent communication that clearly articulates the country's long-term developmental vision and contextualises short-term obstacles to the fulfilment of the long-range vision.
South Africa needs to build an image of the nation, both within and beyond our borders that matches its potential to grow. Through the brand champion campaign, we aim to communicate successes to potential brand ambassadors in an engaging way both through a mass media and through direct training activities. The campaign is further linked into the recently launched Movement for Good,which offers audiences practical ways to get involved.
The economy is expected to grow by 4,5% in 2008, before returning to about 5% a year in 2009 and 2010. South Africa is committed to the New Partnership for Africa's Development and African development. The continent is a key trading partner to South Africa's trade. Trade with the continent has grown by roughly 659% since 1994. Export to the African continent has increased from $1,3 billion in 1994 to $7,6 billion in 2006. South Africa's imports from Africa during the same period have increased from a low base of 4,2 billion.
South Africa is the single largest source of foreign direct investment in Africa. The 2010 related investment make up less than 10% of government expenditure, which means investment accelerated is increasing to, but not monopolise by the 2010 Fifa World Cup. It is the most sustained, broadest and greatest investment surge in South Africa's recorded economic history and it will continue long after the biggest event in the world in 2010. For South Africa hosting the best ever World Cup will be part of building a nation united in its diversity, living the values of equality, nonracialism, nonsexism and human solidarity.
One of the greatest challenges South Africa has faced since we achieved freedomhas been to engage with the international community on terms that promote our national interest. From a communication perspective that has brought the challenge of closing the gap between negative perceptions of our new democracy and the reality of a country steadily undergoing reconstruction and development; a country of immense opportunity; a country alive with possibilities.
The International Marketing Council has been working since its inception to address this, starting from the premise that effective marketing requires a consensus amongst our people regarding how we project ourselves. The IMC's early work emphasise its internal campaign, building awareness of and support for Brand SouthAfrica. Some 7 000 radio adverts reached 94% of South Africa's adult population and over 560 TV adverts during the year. A combination of the total of the "Today I woke up in South Africa advertisement", and the rhythm of the nation reached 95% of the television watching population.
In making this campaign a success, it is important to offer workshops for communicators in leadership positions to assist in media management and in preparing their international communication strategies, political parties, government communicators, et cetera, in partnership with the Government Communication Information System.
There is a growing self-assertion and national pride among the youth in South Africa, but also, there is a grave concern at the growing tendency among many of them to ape American and European fads. The predominance of an overarching identity among both black and white young people who sometimes tend to be proud and happy when others in faraway lands approve, in other words, to see themselves as an extension or a poor imitation of Europe and North America.
In conclusion,in 14 years of democracy, many gains have been made and a firm foundation has been laid: Let us protect it, let us continue building a South Africa that we can all be proud of. Let us embrace human rights once again. Ndiyabulela. [Thank you.] [Applause.]
Mr K M KHUMALO
END OF TAKE
Ms M R MORUTOA
Mr K M KHUMALO: Madam Deputy Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, Deputy President, Ministers and hon members, three years ago, when we had the same debate, I indicated that there is a place called Bray, near the border of Botswana and South Africa, in the North West. When the President of the country went there, the people in Bray were shocked that Nelson Mandela had been released from jail. What shocked them more was the fact that he was also the President of the country. He has finished his term, and there's also a new President. So, they always get shocked.
At that point in time, it was because, when we discussed the matter, it was the amount of communication that was reaching them in that part of the world in Bray. Some of the members had thought that it was a bit of an exaggeration, but some of you might remember Mbuzini - a place just near the border - which had not been able to access any radio or television frequencies from South Africa until two years ago.
The Government Communication and Information System is an institution established to cover all government communication platforms in order to keep the South African population informed about government's work; challenges; achievements, and a confluence of encouraging possibilities such as economic growth, low levels of crime, a hope for the future, and many other things.
It is important to build the communication partnerships with the institutions of government. Communication partnerships must be established with youth organisations, youth club students' organisations, campus-based clubs, and societies. It is important to do that because most of the communications are done with the broader communities but do not cover those institutions which are quite important in terms of the directions of the intelligentsia and academia of the country. So, very often in terms of what we do, there is not a lot that we do to cover those areas.
Regarding building communication partnerships with the media units within the trade union organisations, especially as it relates to the job opportunities in government, buy-in is very important and for the unions such as the Congress of SA Trade Unions, the Federation of Unions of South Africa, Solidarity, and the National Council of Trade Unions to know what government is doing and able to achieve.
While it is important to use the current information and communication technology platforms and izimbizo, there is a greater need to convene sector-specific gatherings such as workshops, rallies, and seminars. Expanding access to opportunities created by the advent of democracy, this will help us to make sure that we reach the broader part of society.
Establishment of Thusong centres will help our communities to access government departments within reach of each municipality and provide access to opportunities. As we open these Thusong centres, it is also important to know that we must try to make sure that communities that have not managed to benefit from them are also reached.
It is also important to make sure that the Thusong centres are not necessarily based in African communities or townships. We must make sure that this will reach the Eldorado Park community, Lenasia, Chawelo, Rosettenville and most of the coloured, Indian and white working class communities, because once you focus mainly on African communities, you will not be able to make the entire country understand government messages and what the government is doing. Now, that is very, very important.
This must also apply to communities of Wentworth, Phoenix, KwaMashu and Chatsworth. These are big communities. Now, once we establish these Thusong centres, and once they are covered, it will also be good for us and for the country to be able to reach everybody. As we expand access to opportunities and build communication partnerships, we must also strive to ensure that we create a caring and a non-racial society.
While we prioritise African townships, as we said, in terms of the izimbizo, we must also make sure that we also establish local-based government departments in those communities such as the Department of Social Development, the Department of Home Affairs, and so on so that not everybody will have to go to the cities because as far as transport, money, and the cost of living is concerned, they might not be able to afford that.
Expanding access to opportunities must also include communities that have been sidelined, but also make sure that we cater for the disabled communities, especially those who cannot see and those who are hearing impaired.
Now, when dealing with the promoting continental institutional programme to achieve peace, stability, democracy and development, we need to identify a lot of good things that come out of the continent because, quite often, our news - even the SA Broadcasting Corporation news and the Cable News Network - all that they report is crime, Zimbabwe, land grabs, this and that. Yet the best of the continent is not captured in everything that we communicate.
What we note here is that you would see that there are countries that are quite peaceful such as Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland and many others, but there is not much that is reflected of that.
Currently, according to the President of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, they are the best in producing and distributing the African movies called 'Nollyhood', which are quite popular in the whole continent. Most of our people are glued watching 'Nollyhood' on digital satellite television and buying those types of movies. That is a good thing from the continent; it must be promoted and be seen.
Now, in relation to marketing, advertising and communication, it is quite clear that there has been a slight migration from lower-living standard measure, from one to two, in the advertising transformation index. The government is spending lot of money in terms of adspend. But, unfortunately, just as in private sector, they spend lot of their money on LSM six and ten, leaving out most of those who are in LSM one and five. Now, we also have also to try to change and make sure that it doesn't happen the way it does.
Advertising transformation, in relation to the above, is driven by the improved attention to rural development and lesser pension payouts. The majority of LSM one and five occupants reside in rural areas, and the majority of LSM six and ten occupants reside in the urban areas. A study conducted a few years ago revealed that black audiences are undersupported with advertising, with regard to radio and television in particular, but it is because of the economic realities rather than racially motivated decisions.
Most of the banking institutions are found in Menlyn Park and Pretoria as opposed to Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and other areas. This is because of the economic conditions and realities that we are living with in terms of time. Adspend must change when it comes to the government and partly private sector.
Government advertising has increased dramatically in the past year, 2006-07, and it has also increased in terms of all media. Government and the private sector are skewed towards the high LSM which are dominated, unfortunately, by white people and this needs to change. In terms of the adspend patterns, you will realise that government top jobs are usually advertised in Sunday Times and partly in City Press. However, other small jobs and other things are advertised in Sowetan and stuff like that, and quite few in the Daily Sun which is a newspaper that is quite dominant in the market. I can understand that not many people who are needed to be Deputy Directors-General or Directors-General might be reading Daily Sun,and it does make sense that that is possible. [Laughter.]
For those who might have an interest in making sure that they get government tenders, they have to buy the Sunday Times and Sowetan. For those who just need information about gossip and stuff like that have to buy Sowetan, Sunday Sun and many others. However, spending patterns still reflect that the private sector and government are still skewed in their expenditure.
Now, you will realise that companies such as BMW, Mercedes Benz and Lamborghini prefer magazines such as Maverick, Enterprise and others. They will not be able to do that in Tribute. There is an assumption, which might be correct based on the imbalance, that a Lamborghini cannot be advertised in magazines such as Drum and Bona,because people who are reading Bona and Tribute might not be able to afford a Corolla or Beatle, and therefore, why would you want to do that?
The unfortunate part is that the majority of people who move out are a quite a small number; it is a fraction. Now, if you check the majority of people leaving Shoprite, Checkers and Pick 'n Pay are mostly black people. It doesn't make sense that you cannot even advertise a Corolla Hi-Ace or a Nissan on SABC one or even in the newspapers that are predominantly black because the majority of those people are the ones that are supporting them. Therefore, there is a bit of a problem in terms of transformation and advertising in these industries. We need to increase adspend within the LSM one and five to make sure that we bring everybody together.
It is also quite clear that, in terms of the current use of cellphones, there are more than 20 million cellphone users in the country, and the majority of that number will be African people. But the adspend of the cellular industry, especially with Nokia and whether it is international or local, it has not yet shifted to media and platforms that cover these communities.
I must just indicate that the work that has been done by the Government Communication and Information System is highly appreciated. We just want to make sure that izimbizo that are called are able to attract other communities beyond the traditional communities that it has been addressing. Second, Vukuzenzele must also be published in such a way that it can be readable, as it is one of the good publications that is readable by everybody for everybody - everywhere in the taxis and all over the country.
The ANC support this budget. Thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY
END OF TAKE
Mr K M KHUMALO
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: Thank you, Deputy Speaker, first of all let me start by thanking all of the speakers who participated in today's debate. Let me start by agreeing with the hon Dene Smuts - not her description, but with her facts. This will be my very last GCIS Budget Vote speech. I had made it clear two years ago that I will not be seeking elections to this venerable institution during the next elections in 2009. So, with your permission I would like to say some things.
The first is to hon Dene Smuts. We met the first time in Kempton Park during the negotiations that were held at the World Trade Centre. She was on the other side, if you like, of the fence in the negotiating team, but there were many things we agreed upon, in the course of negotiating the interim Constitution and then subsequently the Constitution that we now have in South Africa. I have always found her a very honourable opponent and an even more honourable friend. So, when I leave from here hon Dene Smuts, you will be plain Dene to me. But I want thank you for your consistent interest in government communications. Many times your criticism was painful but incisive. And all I can say to you is that all of us paid attention to your views and I'm that this will continue to be so. So, one of the things I will be sorry about is that I won't be sitting opposite to you next year.
To Mr Velaphi Ndlovu, and through him I also extend my very best wishes to hon member Susan Vos, with whom too ever since we started GCIS we had a long-standing relationship. And there were points at which we agreed as well as points at which we disagreed. But I always found her to be open, honest and forthright in the views that she expressed. And sometimes I thought there was a funny collusion here and I was going to report hon Dene Smuts and hon Susan Vos to the Competition Commission for colluding before they came to this Budget Vote. But please extend to her my very best wishes too and many thanks.
Finally, of course, to the ANC study group of this portfolio committee. I have had four Chairs; Ismael you are the last one - and I hope you'll turn out to be a good one, you have just started your job. But with all of them we have had a very happy and a very good working relationship. So, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the present members of the ANC on this portfolio committee but, through them and through the Chair, all of the previous members as well as the previous Chairs of this portfolio committee. It has been without doubt exhilarating, uplifting, empowering and it has been for me a great, great learning experience, not only to be head of the GCIS but the continuous interaction that one had to have with all Members of Parliament across different political views.
Can I now address some questions that have been raised in this debate? With respect to the issues raised around discussions with the Minister of Communication - the Deputy is here; I saw; but I don't know if he can write English but he was writing something. So, I guess he will raise it with the Minister of Communication. Mr Pieterse, I haven't yet received the invitation but long before Knysna became your constituency I visited Knysna. No, I prefer Knysna to Plettenberg Bay but I'll go to Plettenberg Bay. But I must first get invited and don't worry I'll pay my own way.
So, all of the issues that have been raised will be discussed, but there are two issues that were raised. First of all, the Chairperson talked about a razor-sharp tool. I actually thought he was talking about himself there because when you look at him he requires a razor for some other purposes. But the ANC has made a proposal with respect to who should communicate Cabinet decisions. I think we need further discussions; I happen not to agree with that proposal. I think we must understand that the CEO of GCIS is invited to Cabinet meetings; and attends all Cabinet meetings and has access to all Cabinet documents which are essentially confidential documents too. So, just to get somebody else to do that duty will require from us to first have permission for him to attend Cabinet, as well as access to Cabinet documents. But it still seems to me it is something we should, perhaps, discuss and continue to discuss and see what would be the best way forward.
Ms Smuts raised the issue of the country manager Mr John Battersby. Let me say three things first - and I've these before, hon Smuts, in response to some other things you've said in previous debates. The ANC does not require the GCIS to communicate on its behalf. It is very capable of communicating on its own behalf and the ANC is very capable of communicating himself. So, it does not require the GCIS to communicate on its behalf. But you cannot brand and market South Africa if the IMC does not interact - certainly with the ruling party which it would have to do - but also with other political parties represented in Parliament and broader civil society. So, I think that will have to continue. With regard to the article by Mr Battersby, I would not want to ever be in a position in which if we employ somebody to do a specific work, we would limit their right to speak and write. If, for example, we took a position to say to any of our country managers that they are not write any articles for any journals or any newspapers or any TV programmes or any radio programmes without getting the permission of the CEO of the IMC or, even worse the Minister, responsible for the IMC, I think that would be a very bad thing. You would then be restricting the capacity of the country manager in this case to be able to see how to respond and when to respond to specific issues that the country managers may decide are issues that they need to address in order to do some of the things. I don't think you were asking for that either but I don't think we should ever get into a position in which we would want to curtail the capacity of people that we employ to speak and to write. However, John has a perfect right to write what he wrote, and you have a perfect right to disagree with what he wrote. I do, however, think that we need to give consideration to the point you made; that that particular article by John should have been written in his personal capacity. And I'm quite sure that if we approached Mr Battersby and asked him, I'm quite sure that Mr Battersby would say that he did write it in his personal capacity. He has written other articles; as you know he worked for a considerable period of time as a journalist for the independent group of newspapers. The reason that I agree that because that you don't want to give, at all, the impression that the International Marketing Council wants to enter into the party political arena. It would be wrong for them to enter the party political arena and as I said the ANC doesn't require the IMC to enter the party political arena because it's quite capable of communicating its own positions, its own strategies and its own tactics.
But I think we should take note of what you said that when those who are country managers are communicating outside the framework of the IMC, then they should write in their personal capacity. But we should not prevent them from writing in that personal capacity because I think that would not be a good thing. I would also suggest, hon Smuts, that you might want to consider writing a rebuttal to him - it's not for me to discuss his article - so that we can then engage in a discussion. I can also enter the fray about the capacities and strengths both of the organisation to which I belong, as well as the leadership of that organisation to which I belong. So, I think that that would be quite important that we look at that issue from that particular point of view. But I think you would agree that we should not prevent Mr Battersby or any of the other country managers from writing articles and working. They also have to have a close working relationship with government communicators working in our high commissions and embassies, because this is part of their responsibilities that they have to carry out.
Now, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee has made some criticisms with regard to, in his view, the cautious way in which - I'm using a nicer word - the GCIS has responded to complex issues that this government has faced and has commented on the low skills levels of some government communicators.
I think what we will have to do, Chairperson - because I think that that's the view of the ANC with respect to this particular issue – is to look into this thing and identify the very specific areas that we have raised so that once we have identified them we can see what is it that we must do in order to improve that. Let me just say that in terms of each department and Minister, the Head of that Communications is supposed to be at the level of a Chief Director. And when we raised this it was specifically to address the question that you wanted somebody at the level and the status who would able to respond timeously and adequately to what may be contentious issues that do arise from time to time.
Lastly let me say this; that what we have tried - and obviously the DA is much more aware of this – in all of the time that we have the GCIS, we've had a lot of discussions with the DA. One of them is now an ambassador so I suppose he is singing a different song now. We have discussed the question of: What is the responsibility of government communication vis-à-vis party political communication? I think to be fair to the GCIS we've tried to keep out of communicating party political positions. We've tried to communicate government positions. But it is an ANC government; it is an ANC-led government and therefore it's not possible to sit down and say; "Now I'm going to communicate government policy" - because that is the policy of the ruling party that you have to communicate. There is no doubt in my mind that if ( -it won't happen unfortunately for you- in next year's election, somehow by a cyclonic miracle, you win the election, then the GCIS is going to have to respond in the same way because that's the responsibility of government communications. So, you've got to communicate the views and the positions of government which are not separate and cannot be separate, essentially, from the views of the ruling party. This is true of every country in the world and that's why you talk about having a ruling party. And in that sense, the borderlines may not always be as clear-cut. But I do believe in all the time that we've been together with GCIS for the last ten years, we really have tried our best to ensure that we communicate government positions, government policies, government successes and challenges that government faces. Incidentally, gaps that we have, places where we have not achieved our targets, we are just about the only country in the world which actually posts on the website on a very regular basis, whether or not we have achieved the targets we have set ourselves - the targets that the President sets in the state of the nation address every year. We are one of the few countries that do this specifically because we wanted to open up, in such a transparent manner, that those who then had access to this information would then be able to be in a position to judge whether or not this government has achieved its stated objectives.
As I depart, not with a sense of trepidation, not feeling crumpled but very exhilarated and great – I think I look good. [Laughter.] I'll be 70 next year, Dene. Not bad for an old man, Deputy Speaker. So I take leave of this portfolio committee, I just want to say once more: Thank you, very much for ten years of a wonderful working relationship; ten years of sometimes heated debates; ten years of sharp differences of opinion but I think ten years working together; ten years of working together in the common national interest of South Africa and this will be the position of the IMC.
Let me say someting about the IMC. You didn't go that far but you were about to get there. I'll help you to the end of your journey. As you know, the CEO of the IMC has left and has arrived at a common understanding both with the Exco and the board. Let me put it on record: That Miss Yvonne Johnson has done a remarkable job. She has done a remarkable job of taking the IMC from scratch to a position in which it does command the attention and respect of the many people, not only in South Africa but throughout the world. I want to take an opportunity to say in this House, that I think we must all thank Yvonne for her remarkable contribution and whoever else is going to replace her, will see whether they can now take the IMC to a new and higher level. That is what has to happen.
We have set in motion with the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, who is responsible for SA tourism and the tourism sector; we have asked Moeketsi Mosola, who is here, to act as in both capacities as CEO of SA Tourism and in the interim, to also act as the acting CEO of GCIS. [Interejctions.] The two Ministers have set this in motion, and with the permission of the Chairs of the two boards, plus one or two members of the board, will sit down with Moeketsi and them and try to have a comprehensive understanding, assessment, analysis both of SA tourism, as well as the IMC, to try to identify where the synergies are, the overlaps, where are the things that we are repeating; are there areas and places where we are actually spending money twice but perhaps not achieving twice as much from the money spent. We will await their work. It is a work that neither of the Ministers will get involved in. We will wait for them to make a report to the two Ministers concerned, who will then go back to Cabinet on the basis of the reports that they will make. I want to say now – and Moketsi is sitting here – that in the course they will also interact with the portfolio committee. The portfolio committee itself may have a view about what would be these areas of overlap so that in the end we can hopefully come with a common understanding and position as to what is in the best interest of marketing and branding South Africa. We have a lot to be proud of. We have a lot of achievements to our credit. We have a lot of challenges in front of us. We will succeed. We are a winning nation and all I can ask is that our new soccer coach does his work properly so that at least we get to the second round of the 2010 World Cup. Thank you, very much. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much, Minister. I did allow you to go a little bit over your time, given the fact that this is your last Budget Vote speech but also for the sake of our Hansard just to correct that the Minister wanted to say: Mr Mosola is acting at the IMC not acting at the GCIS. You mentioned the CEO and the Acting CEO. [Interjections.] Were you already concerned? [Interjections.] Hon Minister, it is also an honour for me to have been given the opportunity to preside over your last Budget Vote debate. I know that you are not yet going anywhere. We are still going to see you. This is not your farewell. We will still have one. Then we will have an opportunity to have the CEOs here. I have already work with Mosola a lot in Tourism ...[Inaudible.] [Laughter.]
The House adjourned at 17:07.
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