Report of Proudly SA crisis 'half wrong'

Dalene du Preez, spokesperson for the Proudly South African brand, on Thursday said Business Day newspaper had got it “half wrong” when it reported that the brand was disowned by its chief sponsor, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“We had a meeting [on Wednesday] to determine who our executive authority is … and that is still the DTI,” she told the Mail & Guardian Online, explaining that it is common knowledge that government funding of the brand ceased in 2004, but that it still reported to the DTI and would do so until formally told otherwise.

On Thursday, Business Day reported that the brand had been disowned by the DTI after struggling without government funding or an office in any government department.

“For six or seven years we have been reporting directly to the department, but we were recently informed that we are not part of them. We are lost now and would like Cabinet to allocate us to another department,” Proudly South African chief executive Manana Moroka was reported as saying.

But Du Preez said the meeting with the DTI’s parliamentary portfolio committee was the first of many to determine the next step the brand would take.
The meeting was requested by Proudly South African last year, for the purposes of briefing the committee on the campaign, its progress and challenges.

“A number of issues that are important to the campaign’s sustained future growth and expansion were raised, including the need for confirmation on Proudly SA’s future executive link to government,” said a statement released by Proudly South African this week.

“The briefing opportunity was requested with the purpose of debating issues to ensure the most appropriate and beneficial future financial and operational model for the campaign,” it continued.

Du Preez said there has been a recent turnaround in the strategy around the brand. “For the first three years it was hugely based on awareness,” but now it is more sector focused, she said.

“There is a lot more we would like to give to our members,” she said, adding that many new marketing platforms have been created, including a CEO forum and a consumer outreach campaign.

Encouraging its members to use all available opportunities and to engage actively with Proudly South African products is important, she said—and getting consumers to buy these products would help the economy by creating more jobs.

Du Preez said she feels the brand has been successful over its past six years of existence, with “1 100-odd members and another 1 800 members up for renewal”. But she added: “We can’t tell people what to buy, we can just educate them … It’s voluntary; if you want to join you can do so for the right reasons, but we can’t force anyone to be patriotic.”

She said the campaign will maintain its “continuous marketing of the Proudly South African logo”, educating the public about its effects on local business. It also has “a lot in the works” for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

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