Budget Vote 8 -
GCIS

 

Speech by Rev KM Zondi MP
 

National Assembly: 14 April 2010

 

Honourable Chairperson,

 

Let me begin by expressing the IFP's support for this Budget Vote.  We do so because of our recognition of the important role that the GCIS plays in communicating government's intentions and informing the public at large about the various programmes of the government.

 

Secondly, we support this Budget Vote because we want to encourage Hon Minister Chabane, who has lived up to his promises he made last year that this government would be open to positive ideas and responsive to constructive criticism.  I say this because a number of issues and proposals we made last year were actually followed up and what we complained about, such as the abuse of tax-payers' monies by egocentric MECs who sought to profile themselves at the expense of government programmes, seemed to have been nipped in the bud and discouraged, at least, in the Province of KwaZulu Natal.

 

Thirdly, we support this Budget Vote because the CEO of GCIS, Mr Themba Maseko and his staff have gone beyond our expectations to engage us and to improve on the areas of the criticism we levelled against the functioning of the GCIS and the entire government communication effort at the National, Provincial and Local spheres of our government

 

We say this notwithstanding the fact that challenges of improvement remain, particularly in the provinces and among municipalities.  We recognise the fact that they cannot actually dictate to the provinces and the municipalities that which needs to be done in these spheres of government to ensure that the public they serve within their spheres, in jurisdiction and influence, is also entitled to better communication outcomes, than is generally the  case at the moment.

 

Honourable Chairperson,

 

Let me pass on to point to the challenges of improving the services that the GCIS is meant to deliver to the public.  I do not know how the Thusong Centres are actually managed on a day to day basis, but I do know that they fall under the GCIS.  I say so because a number of these centres, particularly in KwaZulu Natal, leave much to be desired.

 

There appears to be a lack of proper planning and coordination in that there are a number of these Centres, such as the one in Tulwane in Nkandla District, which were constructed and launched but have remained closed after their launch.  One cannot help entertaining the feeling that maybe they were launched in the rush of the election campaign while their long-term sustainability had not been considered.

 

What compounds this problem is the proliferation of similar centres in the same areas; others are called Thusong Centres and yet a few paces from it you find another centre called One Stop Service Centre, also meant to do the same thing that the Thusong centres are supposed to do.

 

In the KwaShange Traditional Area there was already an operational One Stop Community Service Centre.  But literally just across the road, in Lindela which is in KwaNxamalala area, another more posh one was built and launched by the KZN Department of Social Development in the run-up to the elections.

To render it operational, staff was removed from the already operational one across the road in KwaShange Traditional Area, as a result, I am made to understand that the KwaShange one was left limping and eventually closed down.  While this happened, just about ten kilometres away another one in the KwaMagwaza Area was erected and launched with much fanfare and has remained closed ever since.

 

Quite clearly, a good measure of rationalisation was necessary and it could have prevented the proliferation of institutions of a similar nature.  What is more, such a manner of government delivery could quite unintentionally heighten tensions among our communities which have in the past been prone to faction-fighting.  I would be happy if the GCIS could investigate these things and come up with a strategy which would prevent the squandering of scarce financial resources at the disposal of the government.

 

Contact:
Rev Musa Zondi MP
083 440 5966