Programme Director: Ms Rantjie
Heads of Communication
Good morning to you all.
I stand before you today as the Premier of the Eastern Cape Province, charged with speaking truth to power and acting as a beacon of hope for our beloved people. We are gathered here today because we share a common vision, a common goal, and that is the wellbeing of our communities, of our Eastern Cape, and of our South Africa.
The Government Communication and Information System, our GCIS, plays a critical role in our mission to deliver effective strategic government communication. The government aims to set standards, ensure the coherence of messages, and proactively communicate with the public about our policies, plans, programmes, and achievements.
We stand firm on the principle of a democratic society where every voice matters, and everyone has a say in the decisions that affect their lives. To this end, you should be focused on informing the whole society about our actions, about the policies that we put into place to improve the lives of all our people.
We are not only inviting you but actively encouraging our society to contribute to the formulation, monitoring, and evaluation of our government programs. We believe that when we all work together, we can achieve more. The government is committed to dispelling misinformation and providing accurate, policy-informed facts to support and bolster our participatory democracy .We are in a time of significant change, both globally and locally.
In this era of digital technology and artificial intelligence, the potential for misinformation and manipulation is high. As such, providing clear, honest, and accurate information becomes even more crucial. We must dispel misinformation and proactively provide accurate and factual data.
The government value unbiased communication as a policy instrument to promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence through honest communication. We expect you to foster collaborations among all actors – the government, non-governmental organisations, businesses, and civil society. This is the time for us to unite, to work together for the common good.
Effective public communication is§1 your duty as government communicators. It is your duty to conduct contextualised research to understand the needs of our community better. To contribute to constructive debates that stimulate multi-perspective views about the needs and interests of our community.
As public servants and communicators on behalf of a democratic state, you should commit to promoting ethical, transparent, and unbiased news to ensure our communities are well-informed and can make knowledgeable choices.
In our mission as communicators, we commit to providing multi-stakeholder platforms to promote participatory democracy. We should encourage tolerance of divergent views and openly contest any discrimination against race, gender, sexual orientation, and sexism.
In this age of digital media, government communication should provide leadership and support for alternative media outlets. We should support new digital platforms and create an environment to guard against fake news and misrepresentation. We should protect our people against deep fakes generated by artificial intelligence and ensure that the truth prevails.
As the elite cadre of The Government Communication and Information System, you have the responsibility not only to deliver effective communication but also to listen. To collect and act upon the feedback that comes from all corners of our society, in particular those that are often overlooked.
To support policy-relevant feedback, Communication has a role in establishing a multi-channel feedback system allowing citizens from all walks of life to provide their government-performance input. Our government is committed to the principle of transparency. To this end, we should communicate truthfully about the progress of government programs’ implementation. We will keep our communities informed regularly of the steps we are taking and the milestones we are reaching. The achievements belong to all of us, and so should the knowledge of them.
But we know communication is a two-way street. It is not enough for us to speak; we must also listen. To this end, we will create accessible communication platforms for rural and marginalised communities. We aim to harness the power of both traditional and digital media to ensure all voices are heard and that the concerns and issues of the rural and marginalised do not go unheard or unaddressed.
Moreover, we aim to serve as the voice of the discriminated, those subjected to gender-based violence. To echo their pleas for help and justice. It is an unacceptable reality that so many in our society live in fear and pain. In addition to communicating the government’s activities, we understand the importance of analysing and critiquing news events.
We would act as a watchdog against the misuse of information, the manipulation of knowledge, and the exclusion of the voices of the disadvantaged and marginalised. Every voice in our society has a right to be heard, and every story has the right to be told. That is the principle our democracy is built, which we, as your government, vow to uphold.
To conclude, we are committed to making these changes to evolve our communication approach to better serve all the people of the Eastern Cape and South Africa. The strength of our democracy lies in the voices of our people, in the chorus of our united commitment to a better, more equitable, and more prosperous society for all.
We are the Eastern Cape, a province of proud history, rich culture, and vibrant communities. Let us work together to ensure a brighter future for all of us. I thank you for your time and your commitment to our shared cause. Together, we can achieve more.
Together, we are the voice of the Eastern Cape. Together, we will shape our future.