The Pat on Brands Fellowship Programme aims to expose budding media enthusiasts to the communications and media industry. On Wednesday, 28 April 2021 as part of the programme, we were invited to the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) offices.
The mission of the GCIS is to deliver effective strategic government communications and proactively communicate with the public about government policies, plans, programmes and achievements. They make sure that everyone within the South African government speaks in the same voice and follows the communication protocol.
Government Communication Training
We were welcome by Mr Tiisetso Ramotse, the Chief Director for Cluster Supervision. Whose passion for communications and policy drives his enthusiasm for his work.
The training began with an intense look into government communication policy. Mr Ramotse shared an in-depth look into Communication Strategy and how the entire government has to speak in one voice – which is ensured by the GCIS.
I had often asked myself why all politicians and government representatives behave in a similar fashion when interviewed by different journalists and It turns out that they all get inducted on how to communicate government issues by the GCIS. This process strengthens the communication systems within the government and eliminates confusion. “One voice, One message”, says Mr Ramotse.
In order to generate a communication strategy they take into account the objectives and goals they need to achieve by the content they are creating. The manner in which the message is portrayed, by whom and the channels in which this message will be distributed is dependent on the targeted population segment.
This was the part of the presentation that blew my mind because I am fascinated by data analytics. Presented by Ms Kopo Ndhlovu – who is part of the research team.
GCIS conducted thorough research about different population segments which are made up of the Rooted realists – South Africans found mainly in the rural areas. City seekers is a segment found in city areas, Safety suburban are found in suburban areas, Metro mobiles and Cosmopolitan capital are found in the city centers and metropolitan areas.
This information is very important because it highlights demographics like education, income, geographical area, race, percentage of each population segment etc. Each population segment has different needs and the government needs to know and understand this information in order to know who to address as well as the needs of each population segment.
At the end of the presentations we were taken on a tour of the GCIS offices by Mr Takalani Mukhwevho – who took on a detailed tour of the entire place. We got to see where all the discussions took place with the late Minister Jackson Mthembu, as well as the in- house radio studio and photo studio where all the ministers are photographed.
The GCIS controls all forms of communication in government, using a an array of multimedia, such as video, photographs, radio and social media. Theirs is a massive mandate – one that they are fulfilling with hard work and a lot of internal communication at all times. Every department has a responsibility, from rapid response to social media and media engagement. The departments work together to ensure smooth sailing. Myself, as well as my colleagues, enjoyed the experience along with the Pat on Brands team.
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