PRETORIA, South Africa, April 16, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In an attempt to improve relations with the media, the South African government will facilitate Cabinet interaction with the South African National Editors’ Forum and the Foreign Correspondence Association, to ensure increased media access to the Executive.
According to a report by a local media, BuaNews, on 14 April 2010, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said the interactions, to be facilitated by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), are intended to ensuring that media and the executive are able to discuss issues of mutual interest while building better relations and fulfill their mandate of keeping citizens informed.
Tabling the department’s Budget Vote in the National Assembly on 14 April 2010 Chabane said GCIS will continue to pursue a developmental agenda in ensuring that implementation of government’s priorities has the intended outcome of impacting positively on the lives of all South Africans. “The GCIS will continue to improve communication techniques, tools and methods based on scientific communications research to ensure that communication is targeted, responsive and relevant to the information needs of the people,” he said.
The total budget allocations for GCIS over the MTEF-period are R546.184 million in 2010/11; R507.1 million in 2011/12 and R515.363 million in 2012/13. Chabane commended the department for closing its 2009/10 financial year with a record 99.7 percent budget spent. “This is commendable work which all of government should emulate,” he said.
The minister also commended the 150 operational Thusong Service Centers throughout the country. He said strides have been made in partnership with the Department of Public Service and Administration in ensuring ICT connectivity in 55 centers, coupled with an installation of 39 prototype general service counters.
GCIS has also developed targeted communications to ensure that the department engages as many South Africans as possible. The department coordinated and scheduled a link-up with 62 community radio stations to profile government economic opportunities that are meant to benefit the most marginalized and emerging entrepreneurs.
In this financial year, the GCIS will include the use of public-broadcast radio stations, reaching a wider audience than the community radio stations.
Chabane also told Parliament that BuaNews has, as part of its mandate to disseminate government news, penetrated many international countries including Switzerland, China, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Latin America, Turkey, Brunei and Bulgaria.
The agency also secured exclusive interviews with ministers and departments. BuaNews will also be used by South Africa Alive! magazine, which has distribution rights at OR Tambo International.
He added that the Vuk’uzenzele magazine continues to cover, among others things, government service-delivery projects, practical information on how to access and make use of socio-economic opportunities, government campaigns and programs, local government issues, community development initiatives and light entertaining features.
It has a print order of 1.6 million copies every two months, which is circulated in all nine provinces, largely door-to-door in deep rural and peri-urban areas.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)