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A people centred government

Written by Amukelani Chauke
South Africans will soon experience even better interaction with government.

Government has come up with creative ways to improve and ensure that there is constant communication with its citizens.The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will spend over R300 million on programmes that will improve communication between the state and citizens, said Communications Minister Faith Muthambi when she tabled the department’s Budget Vote.

The National Development Plan emphasises the need to unite South Africans around a common goal – ensuring that citizens are active in their own development and build a capable and developmental state.

“This partnership is as a result of our community outreach programme in far flung areas of our country.

“To support these outcomes, the GCIS will continue to implement programmes aimed at facilitating two-way communication between government and its citizens,” she said.

The Minister explained that the partnerships would enable citizens to access information about government policies, plans, programmes and activities to promote government accountability and ensure that citizens can actively participate in government initiatives.

“In order to fulfil this responsibility, a budget of R382.1 million has been allocated to the GCIS,” she added.

Government throws its weight behind community radio

The Minister said supporting community radio was a priority for government and urged the private sector to do the same.

“The Community Radio Support Strategy has been finalised and is being implemented.

“I am pleased to inform the house that in the 2015/16 financial year the GCIS spent over R26 million on community radio advertising.

“During the 2016/17 financial year, five licensed community radio stations will be provided with broadcasting infrastructure,” she said.

The Minister added that work was at an advanced stage as far as finalising the broadcasting policy review process was concerned.

She said some of the overarching and specific objectives of the review are to:

  • Create a level playing field for emerging audio-visual media services.
  • Protect and empower consumers (audiences), in particular to guarantee key societal values for the protection of minors and human dignity and promote the rights of visually and or hearing impaired persons.
  • Promote South African content to support social cohesion and nation building and safeguard media diversity, pluralism, freedom of expression and information.

“The department’s community radio programme is working! The Greater Giyani Municipality partnered with the Giyani Community Radio Station and provided them with premises and advertising support to ensure the sustainability of the station.

“We call upon other municipalities to emulate this gesture, without compromising the editorial independence of the stations,” she said.

The Minister added that the department would also continue to publish and distribute the fortnightly Vuk’uzenzele newspaper.

She said in the 2016/17 financial year, the department has allocated R25.8 million to produce and distribute 18.7 million copies per year in all 11 official languages.

“We will continue to encourage government departments to place recruitment advertisements in Vuk’uzenzele.

“I would like to thank departments that are using this platform to advertise their vacancies and I also encourage others to do so too,” she said.

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