Mpumalanga’s rebranding: Merely an ANC election ploy?

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The DA notes recent media reports that premier David Mabuza’s government intends to rebrand Mpumalanga to its former payoff line of “The Place of the Rising Sun”, and welcomes the return of this accurate description of our province.

We also agree that the previous slogan “Mpumalanga, A Pioneering Spirit” was a bad idea from the start, as premier Mabuza’s term of office hasn’t been very “pioneering” to say the least.

However, we do question the motive and timing of the exercise. Premier Mabuza’s term of office has been characterised by continuous change, ranging from mergers to transfers, reshuffles and redeployments – adding huge instability to the provincial administration, and the DA fears that this rebranding exercise is little more than an attempt to create an illusion of service delivery.

While government has claimed that the slogan represents the opportunities and hope of a new day, and that the rebranding will position Mpumalanga as a preferred tourist and investment destination, they will do well to remember that actions speak louder than words.

It is the crippled tourism infrastructure, deteriorating facilities, widespread corruption, tender manipulation and overall poor service delivery that defines Mpumalanga’s reputation, and a new logo and motto is not going to change that.

For this or any other rebranding exercise to hold any value, the premier, his cabinet and the top echelon of the provincial ANC must behave accordingly, and live, act and project a brand of hope, opportunity and prosperity, failing which the exercise will amount to little more than placing old wine in new vessels.

What is clear is that realising his poor performance since 2009, premier Mabuza is desperate to present the people of Mpumalanga with a “new” government and even a “new” ANC, ahead of the 2014 election.

To this end, the DA will submit written questions to the premier, requesting him to divulge the projected costs of rebranding the province, as well as to provide us with the necessary market research results justifying the exercise, and how, if at all this rebranding will bring opportunities and hope to our province’s people.