Presentation by ANC Caucus Head of Media & Communications, Moloto Mothapo, during the Occasion of the Official Launch of Website of the Parliamentary Caucus of the African National Congress

22 November 2007

Madame Deputy President
Honourable Ministers & Deputy Ministers
Leadership in the Chief Whip\'s Office
Members of Parliament
Representatives of civil society and Non-governmental organisations
Esteemed members of the media and political commentators
Invited guests and members of the staff

I wish to take this opportunity to join the leaders who have spoken before me in welcoming you to this important occasion of the official launch of the website of the Parliamentary Caucus of the African National Congress. I am indeed deeply grateful that you could be present in this crucial event.

The development of the Caucus site is informed by the need for the ANC to reinforce its communications machinery to enable efficient and effective dissemination of information pertaining to its policies and programmes. It is further informed by the necessity for the development of media platforms within the movement to objectively inform the masses about the ANC\'s perspectives and position, (as directed by the 51st National Conference resolutions).

The introduction of this website at this current conjuncture of our national democratic revolution is fundamental, given the intensified ideological onslaught directed at the democratic movement and its government by the opposition and some within the mainstream media. It is thus critical that we radicalise the way we communicate in order to counter this offensive through truthful and accurate presentation of our policies and views.

We are hopeful that the introduction of this internet site will further consolidate our relationship with the media, on whom we rely for transmission of objective messages to the people of South African and the world. Of the world\'s more than 1.2-billion people using or connected to the internet, at least 5.1-million are living in South Africa. Of these total world statistics, an estimated 12 000 internet users visit the ANC main site daily. The Caucus site is linked to the ANC main homepage. As one of the platforms for battle of ideas with which the movement (like other players) seeks to engage, the media is one of the targets for our communications strategy.

The launch of the internet site, which takes place in the 13th year of Caucus\'s existence, is a culmination of a year-long process of construction work and research to chisel an effective, efficient and user-friendly communications tool.

It contains wide information pertaining to the activities of the ANC in Parliament, useful information on the organization\'s public representatives, and insight into the operational structures of the ANC caucus. Necessary time and research work has been put into the development process of the site in order to produce a quality product.

The information put on the site was gathered through a widely consultative process with various sources with a view to bring on board diverse views.

Expert services in the field of internet development were employed to bring into reality this exciting communications concept. Unwembi Communications, who are also the creators of internet sites of the ANC, ANCYL, SACP and other progressive organisations, provided us with several design options, from which we chose the final design. The design is suitable carrier of the type of information we seek to communicate to the outside world.

The website will revolutionise the way we communicate with various structures of the organisation inside and outside Parliament, the public and the international community, as well as the media.

The website will provide visitors with an introduction to the ANC Parliamentary Caucus, its role and objectives, and further provide insight into the day to day parliamentary activities of ANC MPs.

Through this site, members of the public will get an opportunity to intimately interact with their ANC representatives by visiting them on their pages, which contains their parliamentary, and constituency contact details, their biographical information, and their parliamentary positions and pictures.

The website will also bring the public even closer to Parliament by giving them access to the positions the ANC takes on various issues (such as on legislations, government work and other matters of public interest) through speeches, motions and statements to be placed as soon as they are released.

The placement of documents such as media statements, speeches and publications will ensure that information pertaining to our activities will be made available instantly to the public, various ANC structures, and PCOs, who will share it with their relevant communities.

The site also provides insight into the internal operations of the ANC in Parliament by taking visitors through political and administrative structures of the Caucus as well as simple an brief explanation into their individual roles. In this regard, the leadership of the Caucus is introduced, with a brief explanation pertaining to their positions.

Institutions and organizations relating to the work of the Caucus can easily be accessed through the links, also included on the website.

We are confident that this website will bring a radical difference to the way ANC in Parliament communicates to the outside world and the constituency.

We wish to thank the Office of the Chief Whip and the ANC Head Office for supporting the concept and for the role they have played throughout its implementation. Special thanks to the Members of Parliament for their cooperation during the gathering of personal data, Unwembi for such a creative design and member of the staff, particularly those in the ANC Media Unit under the political leadership of Mpho Lekgoro, for the hard work they have put in making this a reality.