The world’s reaction to the passing of Nelson Mandela in December 2013 has demonstrated the extent to which South Africa has captured global interest. Ignoring the message our country is sending via the media could tarnish our reputation and discourage investment, said Dr Craig Voortman, speaking at the IFSEC SA/OSH EXPO Africa media event on 31 January, comparing South Africa’s media presence to the publicity antics of Miley Cirus.

“South Africa is in the viewpoint of the media of the world. How we play our cards in the next four years will determine how we are presented to the world in the course of the next century, and I have some concerns,” said Voortman.

China has much to invest, Voortman points out, referring to his research for his book ‘Enter the Dragon: How, why & when China will Rule the World in the 21st Century,’ but the violence in South Africa, especially in terms of labour unrest, is disconcerting.

“South Africa is currently handling our relationship with China atrociously,” he says, citing the slide of the rand as an example of the effect of poor international relations. “We are one of the most resource-rich nations in the world, but we aren’t capitalising on that at all.” Instead, he predicts that the rand will weaken even further in future.

“But don’t lose confidence in our great nation. We have so much going for us and awesome potential,” concludes Voortman. “We have so many brilliant security and safety companies working here. There are some really great people working in government. But how we play our cards from this point on will be critical.”