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In The News South Africa

ANC wants government communications centralised

JOHANNESBURG, July 5 –  To strengthen communication and ensure that government communicators towed the line, the African National Congress has recommended that the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) be moved from the Department of Communication to the Presidency.

ANC national executive committee member, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, said government communication should be given the high status it deserved.

”We agreed that it is important to centralise government communication under the GCIS, but more importantly is ensuring the discipline of spokespersons in government and ensuring that they function under the communication framework,” she told reporters during a report back on matters of communication and battle of ideas discussed at the ANC’s national policy conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“The commission further recommended that the GCIS be located in the Presidency so that it gets that status and drives the message that this is the highest office in the land…and if we’re saying communication is crucial, then let it be given the status it deserves.” .

The right of freedom of speech for ANC members should be consistent, and the party should not suppress dissent, she added.

Chairperson of the ANC communication subcommittee, Jackson Mthembu, said it was important that the party’s message resonated with South Africans, but instead that utterances and statements seemed to be about internal battles.

”The ANC exists because of our people, whatever we say on public platform must speak to South Africans…however, we must move with speed so that our message speaks on who we are. The negative narrative, disunity and factions must be dealt with urgently to achieve what our policies are meant for — change the lives of our people for the better.”

On digital migration that has since stalled, Mthembu said those in charge of the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy should ”implement it today” if they have to. Next year December, is the deadline for the country to migrate from analogue to digital television.

”We are saying digital is in the interests of our people and to government that it cannot wait until 2018 to implement digital migration. South Africa needs to be prepared for the fourth industrial revolution and we are not ready, we will be the losers and other nations winners.. we have lost the opportunity to migrate in 2015.”

Free-to-air television should be protected and allowed to freely operate and get premium content.

”I should not play a second fiddle role to pay television…as to how government does that, we leave that to it,” said Mthembu.

Those in charge of digital migration should face the music if they miss the December 2018 deadline, he added.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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