South Africa’s international image is not as competitive as it used to be because of the weak economy and corruption.
This was according to Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of Brand Leadership and Brand Africa. Ikalafeng was among the panel including Mmusi Maimane, Dali Mpofu and Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane at the BBC Africa Debate this afternoon discussing: Is Democracy Delivering?
Ikalafeng said while South Africa may be significantly better since 1994, it is not looking as good as “we” want it to. This is why Nigeria’s economy managed to surpass South Africa as the largest economy in Africa.
Ikalafeng said according to Foreign Policy magazine which measures countries that yield the highest returns from investors- South Africa ranked 41, compared to Botswana (2), Rwanda (5) and Ghana (10). “Around election time there is a tendency to look at individual issues [and] not things in totality,” he said.
Mpofu, Gauteng premier candidate of the Economic Freedom Fighters, said: “political freedom is meaningless without economic freedom”. He said that the EFF emphasises questions of land because there is no reason why Africa cannot feed itself possessing so many raw materials.
Maimane said the story of South Africa must be headlined by economic growth and employment. He referred to the leadership of the ruling party saying: “our trajectory as a nation is one of decline instead of upliftment.”
Mokonyane, who is ANC head of elections, defended the ruling party saying “Nelson Mandela would be proud today because the ANC has not deviated from its policies”. Mokonyane agreed positively to the question of whether the ANC has the moral weight to represent South Africa and said “[it is] not about ‘feeling’ but what we are doing”.
Vuyani Sam, an audience member, said the mentality of politicians promising the public things they cannot deliver to get votes needs to be challenged. “A nation as desperate as this is a danger to itself,” he said.