CAPE TOWN : 8 June 2000
is perhaps an incontrovertible truth that god has not yet created a government
communications system anywhere in the world which enjoys the unequivocal
support of opposition parties.
same must be said of the government communications and information system which
is the subject of today’s debate.
is no doubt that the transformation from the old decrepit sacs (SA
communication service) has been dramatic and one in which innovative
technologies and programmes are being designed and implemented by the GCIS to
enhance delivery to what it refers to as its "clients" – the
citizens of South Africa.
chief executive officer, Mr. Joel Netshitenzhe, has moved quickly and
decisively to staff the GCIS with senior personnel who are clearly highly
professional, competent and committed.
their presentation to the portfolio committee on communication these persons
put forward details of impressive, integrated strategies, programmes, research
analysis and various multi-media methods of communication which have been
devised to meet the needs of their cabinet mandate which is to ensure that the
public is informed about government policies and actions.
than that, cabinet has enjoined the GCIS to focus its communication strategy on
ways and means to mobilise our people to work with the government to improve
their quality of life.
you can’t please all of the people all of the time and nobody knows better
than Mr. Netshitenzhe that his job is politically delicate and situated between
a rock and a hard place. Each day he must walk, literally, on eggs and he will
hear today from the opposition benches that along the way he has cracked and
broken a few.
is government information to some is a clear example of ANC propaganda to
exposure, along with money, is the joint mothers milk of politics. The GCIS has
direct access to both and its leaders are subtle and sophisticated
a government information system produces prolific, expensive and professional
media coverage just before an election – as was the case prior to the 1999
general election -- listing government achievements, it can expect howls of
outrage from opposition parties. Quite frankly, we are still angry about it and
believe the timing and the content was deliberately constructed to the
advantage of the majority party.
are hoping that there will not be a repeat performance prior to the local
son has a t-shirt simply stating "he who has the most toys wins".
irresponsible government using its information system as its own political toy
will also win – for a while. There are examples all over the world and some
very close to our borders – Zimbabwe a classic example.
GCIS is a powerful tool in the hands of government. It is critical to the
development of multi-party democracy in our country that it be used to nurture
and develop this system of government in the best interests of this generation
and generations to come.
I also say that, equally, the integrity of the ANC leadership of our government
is at stake in not being tempted to use their vast majority and the resources
of the GCIS for their own ends.
GCIS is a very ripe apple in a proverbial political garden of Eden. To use the
example recently given to us all by Mr. Hansie Cronje, it is folly indeed to
take ones eyes off what is good and true and to grasp what is expedient and
lucrative in the short term but, nevertheless, with resultant devastating
more has to be done by the GCIS to focus on the role of opposition parties and
their critical role in the development of our new democracy.
and means need to be explored to not only expose the executive and its priorities,
policies and programmes but the constituency work and individual expertise of
individual members of parliament and those in the NCOP. Our citizens need to be
far more exposed to an holistic view of their government.
IFP supports this vote and wishes the GCIS well in its difficult and delicate
contribution to the development of our nation.
Suzanne Vos mp 083 303 0451
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