Research shows that Mamphela Ramphele’s image in the media has taken a knock after her political break-up with the Democratic Alliance. But Helen Zille seems to have taken the saga in her stride.
The damage done was as bad as what President Jacob Zuma suffered when he was booed at former president Nelson Mandela’s funeral. This is according to recent research by Media Tenor South Africa.
According to a media analysis of Ramphele’s image between July 1 last year, and February 4 this year, her reputation has suffered much more damage than that of Zille. In research titled, “The turning point in politics”, Media Tenor SA says Ramphele’s decision to become the DA’s presidential candidate — but simultaneously remain leader of Agang SA — back-fired on the business woman-turned-politician.
The partnership famously lasted less than a week, before a widely publicised break-up, with each politician blaming the other at media briefings last week.
“Mamphela Ramphele’s reputation was dealt with a blow once she chose to to align herself with the DA and subsequently fell out, ” says the research report.
“It is only Ramphele’s image that has been impacted by recent events while Helen Zille has managed to escape the same scrutiny.”
Media Tenor SA Researcher Stephano Radaelli says that up to the announcement of Ramphele becoming the DA’s presidential candidate, she had been portrayed in a positive light.
“However, her credibility has been brought into disrepute following her party’s rejection of the proposal to merge with the DA and thereafter, DA leaders doubting her thought leadership after she pulled out of the potential merger.”
The tone of media coverage of Ramphele became substantially more negative after the so-called break-up.
“Even before Ramphele called off her presidential candidacy for the DA, her image in the media had taken a knock. Now with additional scrutiny from her own party and that of Helen Zille, Ramphele’s image almost equates to that of Jacob Zuma’s reception when he was ‘booed’,” says Radaelli.
Zille suffered less damage because she and her party “have built up a credible reputation on their policy issues and party politics”.
“In contrast, Agang SA together with Mamphela Ramphele have played a fairly low-key position in the media since emerging and thus heighten the risk to reputational alarm,” says Radaelli.
The results are based on an analysis of 6838 statements on Mamphela Ramphele in 47 opinion-leading print and TV news.
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