Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana Presentation of the government communication and information system budget vote (Brand SA & MDDA)
Honorable Minister in the Presidency,
Honorable Speaker of the House,
Members of Parliament,
Ladies and gentlemen.
As we table the 2022/2023 budget for the government’s communications and information system, let us reflect on a year that has shown the resolve of South Africa, our people and this government. More recently, devastating floods hit several parts of our country, causing a huge upheaval in the lives of our people, mainly in KZN, which was still rebuilding after the riots less than a year ago.
The devastating floods and the unending COVID-19 pandemic have, however, proven that once again, when we are united as a nation, there is no challenge that we cannot overcome.
We heard inspiring stories of citizens who risked their own lives to save others, and how communities across geographic, racial and cultural divides came together to support each other. The helping hands and brave actions witnessed around the world crystallized President Cyril Ramaphosa’s final words during the 2022 State of the Nation Address when he said we should leave no one behind. The one bright spot amid any crisis in South Africa is that we don’t talk about Ubuntu, we live it.
Honorable Speaker of the House,
During these difficult times, our country’s communications system, led by the government’s communications and information system, GCIS, has been at the forefront of ensuring that South Africans are kept up to date with the critical developments and interventions.
Communication became a critical tool as it provided reliable information that enabled residents to access government support and make informed decisions. GCIS convened the Communications Working Groups comprised of government communicators to frequently provide accurate, useful and up-to-date information to assist those affected by the floods, while ensuring that the country’s media network is well informed. of all official companies. and process.
We will continue to use the power of communication to support reconstruction efforts and, similarly, draw all South Africans into a united and focused national drive on the President’s reconstruction and economic recovery plan, towards an Africa of the prosperous South, that we can one day say – we ‘built, back, better’.
The GCIS will build on the 2022 State of the Nation Address commitment which affirmed our nation’s path to stabilization and recovery, empowering South Africans with the information to become agents of meaningful change. , fulfilling our constitutional mandate.
Brand South Africa’s work remains crucial in ensuring that South Africa is able to strengthen our competitiveness and effectively bring the world to our doorstep. As such, we will invest R33 million to boost Brand SA activities that contribute to social cohesion, national pride and active citizenship, through the Play Your Part programme.
We must create favorable conditions to attract domestic and foreign investment, tourism and optimize trade relations with other countries. Therefore, the main objective of the program will be to promote constitutional values, encourage entrepreneurship to stimulate the economy and job creation, and redouble efforts to address the problems that harm to the reputation of our national brand.
Brand South Africa will invest R63 million in activities that advance our country’s national brand reputation to improve our attractiveness and competitiveness globally.
In doing so, we will support our drive to attract foreign direct investment as part of the government’s efforts to revive economic growth and create much-needed jobs.
Through targeted marketing campaigns “We Invite You to Believe in SA” and “Think South Africa, Think Opportunity”, we will position our country positively to international, regional and national investors.
The campaigns will put South Africa at the forefront as a strategic entry point for investors, through the African Continental Free Trade Area or AfCFTA, and we will leverage these campaigns by supporting programs, for example, to train one million women and youth on the AfCFTA. by 2025.
We will also use our country’s participation in the World Economic Forum, Mining Indaba, BRICS and the UN General Assembly to position South Africa as a trade and investment partner of choice. This will be complemented by the growing promotion of our brand through the Global South Africans network which targets South Africans living in the US, UK, China, Australia and other key markets on the African continent. .
To ensure that our work has the desired results, Brand South Africa will assess and monitor the country’s performance and global reputation. This will be supported by work to counter negative messages and perceptions about South Africa through a strategic reputation management program that will position South Africa favorably nationally, regionally and internationally.
The lifting of foreign travel bans and the national state of disaster will allow much more travel both domestic and international. This gives us the opportunity to increase our country’s presence in various markets.
Brand South Africa has allocated R14 million to ensure consistency in messaging and branding of the country by key stakeholders as part of promoting the country internationally.
The organization will rely on partnerships to market the country’s brand image, promote the country’s value proposition and provide a meaningful interface with stakeholders who positively influence our country’s brand image. Brand South Africa will also host its annual flagship National Brand Forum which brings together key stakeholders across the country in promoting our brand globally.
I would like to draw your attention to an important sector that is the heart of small, vibrant communities in our country. Community media has become an alternative voice to mainstream media. This adds to the plurality of voices that we desperately seek as a thriving democracy.
This sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has strained the financial resources of many community media initiatives, jeopardizing the many gains we have made in the sector since the beginning of democracy. This year will therefore be a time of recovery for community and small commercial media, supported by the government through the Media Development and Diversity Agency.
MDDA is finalizing the sustainability model for community and small commercial media projects, which will be a first for the local community.
media sector and is supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The central idea of the model is centered on the theme “Building a resilient and forward-looking community and a small commercial media sector”.
We will also support the sector through our grant funding policy to ensure community growth and small commercial media projects. The MDDA has approved grants and start-up funds for 24 community radio stations and 10 community projects and small commercial printing projects across the country. We believe this will go a long way in helping the sector stabilize and get on the road to recovery.
Community media that operate in the poorest, most vulnerable and most economically underdeveloped communities find it nearly impossible to generate revenue through traditional means such as advertising. Our fundraising and support strategy aims to help these media become self-sufficient in the long term. We target international donors and major media companies for financial and non-financial support. In this regard, during the last fiscal year, we launched a formal fundraising strategy.
This year, the agency introduced bold and innovative interventions in the community media sector. The agency has earmarked R40.5 million for its digital innovation strategy, embracing innovation as a catalyst for change in the community media sector. We will also champion research to advance media development and build a body of knowledge for the sector.
Our program will ensure that research becomes the foundation for the strengthening and sustainability of the community media sector and small commercial media.
The MDDA has developed capacity building programs to provide community media and small commercial media with the necessary skills and training, specifically targeting historically disadvantaged groups. The agency has earmarked R4 million for research and training interventions.
Next year, the MDDA will celebrate its 20th anniversary, and as we prepare to mark this milestone, we remember many successes such as the funding of 512 community media projects. We will continue to build on this legacy by creating an environment for media development and diversity that reflects the needs and aspirations of all South Africans.
Honorable Speaker of the House,
In conclusion, Communication allows us to transcend barriers and divisions. This allows us to advance our economy and our society. We will use the power of communication to harness the unyielding spirit of South Africans to grow our nation and ensure that no one is left behind.
Finally, I would like to thank the Minister in the Presidency for his strategic leadership, the Managing Director of GCIS and the executive of the reporting entities of Brand South Africa and MDDA, with special thanks to all staff, who go beyond.
I thank you.