Responsive communications “key to changing world”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, says government must ensure that it adopts new ways of communicating with citizens, as what worked yesterday might not work today. 

He said this when he tabled the Budget Vote for the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) during a mini-plenary of the National Assembly on Tuesday. 

“I believe our key task in this period is to ensure that no South African is left behind, in line with the President’s call to action in this year’s State of the Nation Address. 

“Our communication must touch and change lives, while also being relevant and easily understood. 

“We dare not rest on our laurels by believing that what worked today will still be relevant tomorrow,” he said. 

The GCIS has been allocated R719.9 million for the 2022/23 financial year. The GCIS’s spending plan amounts to R2.182 billion over the next three years. 

The funding provided to the GCIS over the three-year Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period (2022/23 to 2024/25) will allow the department to carry out the constitutionally mandated task of ensuring that all citizens and communities have access to information. 

“We cannot allow a new divide to be created between those with access to resources and technology and those without,” he said.   

Gungubele said, therefore, that government communication must be a mixture of the old and the new. 

“We must blend the best of both worlds and find ways to reach people where they live, in a language or medium they understand. 

“We will deploy our tried, trusted and necessary direct engagement methods of imbizo, activations, outreach activities, community dialogues and loud hailing,” he said. 

Supporting vaccination drive 

Minister Gungubele said in the coming period, GCIS will continue to actively build on its many partnerships and collaborations to support the country’s efforts to vaccinate over 70% of the target population. 

“We will also continue to drive the message that vaccines are effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalisation and death, and they remain our quickest path to normality.

“GCIS will also continue to play a pivotal role in proactive campaigns such as KeReady and Vooma Vaccination Weekends, which have succeeded in driving higher vaccination numbers, especially amongst younger people.” 

Tackling corruption 

Gungubele said many of the worrying revelations at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry were only brought to light because citizens stepped forward and told their stories. 

“As government, we know that there have been many occasions where we have fallen short. 

“Public trust has been eroded and people are rightly sceptical at times.

As a collective, we have vowed to do better and we must continue to do so. 

“Corruption threatens to eat at the very soul of our young democracy, and has to end. 

“It is therefore heartening that government has made huge strides with a number of successful investigations by the SIU [Special Investigating Unity], as well as the forfeiture of assets. 

“GCIS supported the anti-corruption drive by profiling our various anti-corruption initiatives and programmes on our suite of platforms, across media and social media, public engagements, and through comprehensive messaging,” the Minister said. –

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