Pretoria – The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) had spent 95 percent of its budget and managed to save close to R28 million in the last financial year after, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane told Parliament on Wednesday.
Delivering the GCIS Budget Vote, Chabane said the department made savings of R27.9 million following a decrease in personnel costs and lesser performance bonuses and decisions to halt some projects while others were cancelled.
The GCIS Budget for 2011/12 is R496 million, with the International Marketing Council receiving R140 million with the Media Diversity and Development Agency getting R19 million.
Chabane said expenditure for the department was expected to increase over the medium term period from R550.2 million to R552 million, at an average annual rate of 0.1 percent.
“The marginal growth is as a result of completion of activities in 2010/11 related to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Energy-Efficiency Campaign, as well as the lack of adequate funding for the CNBC Africa communication programmes in the same year,” he said.
Commenting on the department’s communication work, Chabane told MPs that the GCIS had successfully partnered with the SABC to promote economic opportunities created by government through a 13-episode series called Rize Mzansi. Through the programme, government reached over 1.6 million viewers per series, he said.
“Following the national electricity crisis of 2008, we led the energy efficiency communication on behalf of government. For the 2010/2011 financial year, the campaign focused mainly on strengthening direct stakeholder relationships and internal communication programmes.
“An electronic newsletter was launched and a number of media round-tables were held on various key national energy issues. A four-part educational series ran on e-TV and a micro-site on energy efficiency was created which is fully operational.”
In supporting and unpacking government programmes, Chabane said the GCIS successfully organised and facilitated post State of the Nation Address Ministerial media briefings, which featured all the government clusters.
These briefings provided a critical platform for ministers to articulate strategies and plans in the implementation of Government’s work. The cluster briefings were also accompanied by a community radio phone-in programme on 66 community radio stations. The collective reach of the 66 community radio stations targeted was seven million listeners.
He also confirmed the proposed reposition of the bimonthly Vuk’uzenzele magazine, into a monthly tabloid format that will enhance its reach and frequency. Vuk’uzenzele promotes access to information about government programmes and how to access the benefits of democracy.
Currently, the magazine has a print run of 1.6 million copies. Chabane said by using the existing budget for the magazine, GCIS can publish a monthly tabloid and increase the print run to 1.7 million, the biggest in the country.
“The elimination of the one-month gap will allow for continuity as readers are better able to develop loyalty to the publication. The plan is to increase the print run to two million and go fortnightly as from 2012/13 moving forward,” he added. – BuaNews