Student protests and Zuma a negative impact on South Africa’s brand

African News Agency (ANA)

Student protests and Zuma a negative impact on South Africa’s brand
Violent student protests in South Africa. #FeesMustFall. Photo: Supplied

The recent university protests and scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma were said to be some of the contributing factors to the South Africa’s deteriorating nation brand.

This was revealed during a dialogue between Brand South Africa and academics held at the University of Pretoria on Wednesday.

The dialogue’s aim was to focus on in-depth analysis of global and domestic issues that impacted on the reputation and competitiveness of the nation’s brand.

“Things such the Gupta-gate, Nkandla scandal, the Dalai Lama being refused a visa to enter South Africa, the current probe on (Finance Minister) Pravin Gordhan and other incidents such as these, have a negative influence in our country,” said Professor Garth le Pere from the University of Pretoria.

Le Pere argued that South Africa’s normative currency in foreign policy and international relations had depreciated considerably since Zuma took office.

“South Africa needs to reclaim its normative resilience in foreign policy and international relations, precisely because without such resilience, it’s brand image and identity will suffer and inevitably deteriorate,” he said.

Dr Petrus de Kock, the general manager of research at Brand SA, said the recent university protests were raising a lot of questions about the country’s tertiary education sector.

“We must maintain the integrity of institutions and the protests are raising a question of instability of institutions and that’s something we really have to safeguard and protect because it’s an important nation asset.”

Some of the other contributing factors discussed which also exerted negative influence on the nation’s brand included urbanisation.

“Cities hold many benefits, but in the rapid transformation that characterises South Africa’s cities there are also significant challenges. Urbanisation is swift and largely uncontrolled, with growing slums and informal settlements, unequal access to urban services, significant climate impact and rising inequality,” said Professor George Angelopulo of the University of South Africa.

Angelopulo said South Africa’s cities played an increasingly important role in the destiny of the country because they assessed their competitive positions within the nation, in Africa and across the globe. “It does so with a measure that is relevant to a wide spectrum of stakeholders of the South African brand – national and international business, institutions, government and its citizens,” he said.

De Kock indicated that citizens as individuals, were also responsible for carrying the image of the country.

“For instance, people working at home affairs, remember you are not a just a person stamping a passport at an entry point to the country. You are actually, the first contact point for the traveler, tourist or business person. So, take responsibility of what you do, make sure when you criticise it’s based on facts,” he said.

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SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)