Calls for citizens to be ambassadors of BrandSA

Cape Town � Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has called on citizens to be patriotic and sell the country to investors by not only focusing on the negative, but to also tell the good South African story.

Delivering her maiden Budget Vote at the National Assembly on Friday, the Minister said through Brand South Africa (SA), the Ministry will work with all sectors of society to promote the country domestically and abroad.

The Minister said the work of Brand SA remains crucial in bringing together the country's socially diverse nation by striving to unite people through the love of the country.

To manage the brand reputation, Brand SA conducts research and analysis of domestic and international perceptions of the national brand, the Minister said.

Recently, South Africa took second place in the Africa Competitiveness Report and the country's global ranking for 2016/17, improved with nine places from 56 in the 2014/15 report to 47 out of 138 countries worldwide, according to Brand SA.

This work is vitally important and we all have a role to play in building our nation. Now is the time for a new spirit of patriotism and optimism.

Now is the time for all South Africans to play their role as conscious Brand Ambassadors. All too often outside investors only get to hear the negative stories about our great nation. It is up to us to highlight the many positive things about our nation and our people, she said.

She said Brand SA will conduct various domestic and international multimedia campaigns on both TV and radio and to better profile the image of South Africa locally, in the continent and abroad.

This message will be further amplified by Brand South Africa in collaboration with National Treasury and departments in the economic cluster to position South Africa as open for business at international platforms such as the World Economic Forum, she said.

MDDA to present 10 year study on media diversity

The Minister said, meanwhile, that supporting community media will remain a priority for the department as it is the heartbeat of the communities.

She said the Media Diversity Development Agency (MDDA) will intensify its support for community media.

We are pleased that in the current financial year, the MDDA will present the 10-year impact study which sought to assess the effectiveness of the impact made since the MDDA's inception in 2002.

The MDDA must continue supporting projects that promote the active role of people with disabilities into the sector and placing greater emphasis on correcting gender imbalances, both in terms of ownership and management of community media, and in the newsroom, as well as on how women are portrayed in the media, she said.

GCIS turns 20

The Minister said next year, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will turn 20.

She said this offers the department a great opportunity to evaluate its impact and effectiveness against its founding principles.

We profoundly thank many architects of the system and hope that they will celebrate this great milestone with us next year. We salute great compatriots such as Mr Joel Netshitenzhe, Dr Essop Pahad and Mr Tony Trew.

As a Ministry we have a responsibility to narrow the gap between government and the people by ensuring access to government information and constantly communicating the work of government.

Our work is to inspire hope and empower citizens with tools to meaningfully change their lives and that of their communities, she said.

She said over the next three years, the department plans to directly engage with communities through 10 458 outreach programmes.

During these programmes, we will be taking government to the people in the villages and communities where they live, the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency