Zuma has little impact on SA's reputation

2014-08-02 08:32
Jacob Zuma. (File, Sapa)

Jacob Zuma. (File, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Scandals involving President Jacob Zuma have little impact on South Africa's reputation in the US, Brand SA country manager Simon Barber said on Friday.

South Africans were more worried about issues such as the R246m upgrade to Zuma's private home in Nkandla, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, he said in Washington.

"This stuff isn't being followed [in the US] and it's pretty much inside baseball.”

"Let's be honest, from a US point of view, so the president has his compound in KZN which costs $20m well, you know, in this country people in New York buy apartments for $20m. So I don't think people are widely stunned by that", he said.

"That's our politics; it doesn't say an awful lot about the country as a whole."

South Africa's asset was that in the US it was seen as the country of former President Nelson Mandela.

"That still resonates strongly with the United States", Barber said.

"Record numbers of Americans are going into South Africa for holidays and business, 300 000 last year, and all of them are coming back with a good story to tell."

'We look good'

In terms of business interest, US investors could be more concerned with issues of labour unrest.

However South Africans, sitting in South Africa, were not very good at looking at the country in context, Barber said.

"We are not the only emerging market that had labour unrest, so it's been a problem for us right now, [but] in the broader scheme of things we not that unusual", he said.

The country has just come out of a five-month strike in the platinum mining sector and a four week strike in the metals and engineering sector.

Barber was speaking ahead of the US-Africa Leaders' Summit, which is being held in Washington next week.

A South African delegation, led by Zuma, will be attending the summit.

Barber said in terms of US interest, South Africa had a boring story at the moment.

The strikes on Gaza, the clashes between Russia and the Ukraine, and Boko Haram in Nigeria where taking most of the focus.

"The old news line is 'if it bleeds it leads'. Well, we not bleeding relatively speaking.

"There isn't blood running in our streets, our girls are not being kidnapped by religious fanatics, we aren't at war or bombing anybody. We look pretty good right now", he said.

However, there were a number of stereotypes about South Africa and Africa.

Many people in the US did not see South Africa as having an advanced manufacturing sector.

"When you tell them that 3 Series BMW you see parked over there could well have been made in Pretoria, they stunned."

Brand SA in the US was trying to change that perception, Barber said.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  jacob zuma

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
178 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.