The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has been allocated an additional R19.5m to increase the print run of its Vuk'uzenzele newspaper, which has published over 50 million copies in all the country's official languages, including Braille, the Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane says.
Presenting the GCIS' Budget Vote in Parliament on Thursday, the minister said Vuk'uzenzele
- the only newspaper in the country that is published in Braille - had last year successfully moved from a two-monthly magazine into a monthly with a circulation of 1.7 million per edition. The newspaper is free.
In the 2012/13 financial year, GCIS planned to produce just over 20.4 million copies of Vuk'uzenzele
, with over 5000 copies to be available to Braille users, he said.
The additional expenditure over the next three years will be used to fund lease payments for a new head office.
GCIS is to invest in new headquarters in Hatfield, Pretoria, which will be ready for occupation next year, said Chabane, adding that R50m would be spent on the project this year.
The new offices, he said, would keep GCIS close to clients and stakeholders while providing staff with a much-needed upgrade in facilities that are vital for morale and creative energy.More copies
GCIS also planned to produce 120 000 copies of its Public Sector Manager
) magazine, which would be supplemented quarterly by GovComms, a newsletter-style publication focused on communication practices across government.
In all, 40 000 copies of the South Africa Yearbook
, 20 000 Yearbook Pocket Guides and 4000 DVD versions would be made available to public libraries, schools and other institutions.
Chabane said Brand South Africa's (formerly the International Marketing Council) domestic campaign, Play Your Part, would help encourage South Africans to play their part in creating a positive social change.
He said last year the campaign had:
* Helped create a 13-part television series on SABC 1, which ran from October until December last year and showcased ordinary South Africans performing extraordinary things.
* Helped launch the Quality Learner Teacher Campaign in collaboration with the Department of Education, with the aim of identifying underperforming schools and getting teachers and learners to play their part to improve the school performance.
* Encouraged business to play their part, where Nestle adopted a school in Escourt.
He said Brand SA's focus internationally was to positively influence and shape perceptions about South Africa among target audiences through, for example, being a member of BRICs and through attending the World Economic Forum in Davos in January - where the country was profiled as a competitive investment destination.
"Overall the reputation scores have improved even in the African continent," he said.
The Brand SA vote had been moved from GCIS to the Presidency with effect from the 1 April 2012. The Presidency is to elaborate more on the work of Brand SA when it presents its budget vote later this month.
Outlining activities for the 2012/13 financial year, Chabane said GCIS would launch a project focusing on 20 years of democracy, with a view to mobilising government and the nation at large in the build-up to the marking in 2014 of two decades of democracy.
GCIS would also implement about 3000 communication projects through various platforms - such as community media, seminars, workshops, public participation programmes, door-to-door visits and Thusong-driven campaigns.
Added to this, GCIS will digitise approximately 3000 hours' worth of video footage of government events and projects recorded over the years.
"This footage is used to develop GCIS products and to share with public and private broadcasters," he said.Special focus
Chabane said a special focus would be placed on the "achievements of local government campaign" - a planned community radio approach where elected local officials would be able to provide feedback on achievements in their Municipal Turnaround Strategies.
The GCIS Budget for 2012/13 is R429m, with the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA) receiving an allocation of R20m.
"This budget is there to ensure that citizens are fully informed about government's programme and how it can change their lives, and that they have opportunities to interact with government," said Chabane, who added that last year GCIS spent 95% of its allocated budget.
Some of the campaigns GCIS was involved in last year included COP17, the World Economic Forum in Davos and the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence against Women and Children.
Chabane said GCIS would continue to focus on the five key priorities of government - job creation, education, health, safety and rural development, while also publicising the government's key infrastructure projects by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.
"Eight days from now - on the 18th of May - we will mark 14 years since GCIS was formally launched and we can look back with pride on the achievements of this department," he said.