Propaganda and the war on truth: examining informational inconsistencies governing South Africa’s Covid-19 policy response

Keywords: Covid-19, Propaganda, Deception, Public policy, Disaster management, South Africa, vaccine hesitancy


A review of the intellectual and policy environment announces the absence of transparency and rational discourse in assessing the prevailing Covid-19 policy measures. Contextually, propaganda thrives in times of political uncertainty as it serves to either amplify confusion, induce moral dilemmas,or disguise meanings. To this end, this study examines the quality of political communication, underpinning South Africa’s public policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to trace the influence of propaganda in informing policy origins and efficacy as it concerns the lethality of Covid-19. Importantly, informational irregularity must be treated with greater accountability and intellectual inquiry as it concerns masking and vaccine hesitancy. Following a qualitative approach and case study research strategy, this study begins by outlining the propagandistic assault on truth and rationality. Next, it confronts the seeming normality, with which the state, media, intellectual and scientific community have nonchalantly dismissed inconvenient truth in the name of misinformation. Of significance is the war on truth and the growing intellectual appetite for ideological realignment that esteems emotional triumph over empirical soundness. Ultimately, the research shows that scientific rationale has been demoted in favor of social solidarity. Finally, propagandist techniques and elements of deception theory entice the analytical appetite by exposing the modus operandi of deceptive operations at work in both masking and vaccine campaigns. The key findings indicate the use of propaganda and deception tactics at play in perception management with a view of influencing public action, corrupting public discourse and delegitimizing the need for factual accountability, concerning compliance with incoherent Covid-19 policy measures.


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Author Biography

Demi Harmse

Department of Social Science


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How to Cite
Harmse, D. (2022). Propaganda and the war on truth: examining informational inconsistencies governing South Africa’s Covid-19 policy response. EUREKA: Social and Humanities, (3), 70-90.
Social Sciences