Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

Johannesburg - Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has warned that the project to improve the country’s battered image internationally will only succeed if all sectors throw their weight behind the effort.

Speaking at Brand South Africa’s fourth national brand forum in Sandton on Monday, Mthembu said while the country was currently scrambling for investment, some negative developments, such as high levels of gender-based violence and persistent, rampant impropriety, among other things have worsened the outlook for the country.

“In achieving a coherent nation brand we cannot turn a blind eye to the recent acts of violence against women. As a nation we must strongly condemn anything that seeks to break down the foundation it took us to build our country.”

He added: “It is for this reason that our government established a multi-pronged approach to deal with corruption and state capture through, among other things, the Public Audit Amendment Act, which gives the Auditor-General powers to act against officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing. We have also established a series of commissions to unearth the truth behind allegations of state capture.”

Mthembu said all sectors had to jointly use South Africa’s membership and participation in multilateral forums to improve the country’s image, and by extension, the attitude of those who were looking for investment destinations.

“The low levels of economic growth and unemployment, which has recently escalated to an alarming 29%, require government and all stakeholders to come together to forge a new economic path for the country,” he said.

With the second annual SA investment conference scheduled for next month, Mthembu said all sectors had a duty to ensure that the country’s brand and image was restored to woo potential investors who were sceptical of SA.

“We want people of the world to fall in love with South Africa and to invest with us. Several pledges were made last year by domestic and international investors to the tune of R300billion, with the aim of reviving the country’s economy,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is on an ambitious drive to attract R1.3trillion in investment into the country during his five-year term in office.

Mthembu said the country’s art, sports and culture had rescued and positively profiled the country internationally, but he said this needed to be accompanied by more practical solutions.

“South Africa is on a journey of transformation. For the sake of social cohesion, inclusive growth and an innovative society, we must all commit to elevating the nation's brand identity at every opportunity,” he said.

Political Bureau