Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

27 May 2014

South Africa: Propaganda Makeover - Communications Ministry to Spread the 'Good Story' Gospel

analysis

Since President Jacob Zuma announced his new executive on Sunday night, there has been wide-ranging criticism of its inordinate size and the fact that it is a hotchpotch team which rewards loyalists and satisfies ANC interests rather than the country's. Is this the best team to ensure South Africa's future success? Most definitely not. Still, the country cannot afford this team to fail.

Data released by Stats SA on Tuesday shows further shrinking of the economy and the term "recession" has filtered back into parlance. The establishment of a "communications" ministry is an acknowledgement that the South African government needs to project itself better and repair its poor image. But can it? And is this new ministry the way to do it?

Pope Francis made a historic tour to the Holy Land over the weekend, and while travelling in Bethlehem on Sunday, made an unscheduled stop at the massive concrete separation barrier which divides Israel from the West Bank. The papal tour was ostensibly a religious one, but it is impossible for anyone, let alone one of the world most influential figures, to be in that turbulent conflict zone and not make a political statement.

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