The opposition Democratic Alliances (DA) opposes the Dirco initiative as a waste of public money and a vanity project.
"The department should focus on improving South Africa's foreign policy rather than spending money on a mouthpiece to promote it," said DA shadow minister of international relations and co-operation Ian Davidson.
"In a time when all government departments are being asked to tighten their belts, this project is a waste of money."
In response, the SACP declared that it is essential "that government is able to communicate on its policies and programmes unmediated by the DA-oriented commercial media in our country."
South Africa's media is self-congratulatory about its role in talking truth unto power, seeing itself as a fearless embodiment of the principle of an independent free press.
However there are two basic contradictions in this position, related to ownership and political stance.
Mass media ownership still resides with the same conglomerates that dominated the means of communication under apartheid, incorporating some new staff but retaining the same pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist positions.
The African National Congress, together with its armed wing uMKhonto we Sizwe and its revolutionary trade union and SACP allies, led the battle for democracy in South Africa and regularly wins around two-thirds of the popular vote in general elections.
Yet no mass media outlet identifies with the government. In fact, they are all largely cheerleaders for the DA.
"The only reason why the DA is opposed to this is so that government's voice is muzzled and only be communicated through the commercial media that has become a major platform for the DA," the SACP commented.
DA has been successful in placing itself at the head of a unified parliamentary opposition, supported by opportunistic elements such as Mosiuoa Lekota's Congress of the People (Cope) and Bantu Holomisa's United Democratic Movement which both split away from the ANC.
DA currently controls Western Cape province, having exploited racial friction between different black communities.
Its leader is Helen Zille who is Western Cape premier, although its parliamentary face is Lindiwe Mazibuko. The recent DA conference chose a number of black candidates for forthcoming elections.
It also unveiled Nosimo Balindlela, the former ANC Eastern Cape premier who was recalled by the ANC in 2008 and subsequently joined Cope.
She opted for DA last month with a brief to build branches in rural areas.
Despite apparently spurning Cope for DA, in explaining her reasons for doing so, Balindlela still referred to Lekota as "my president," adding: "I cannot say Cope is sinking, because we have a great leader in Lekota," which arouses suspicions of a shared enterprise.
SACP leader Blade Nzimande was scathing about Zille's party when he spoke last weekend to the KwaZulu-Natal ANC nomination conference in Durban.
"The DA is a party of white madams and baases," he said, using the terminology imposed by employers under apartheid.
Nzimande, who is also higher education minister in President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet, rejected an allegation voiced regularly in the media that the country lacks leadership, saying: "Those who say there is no leadership in South Africa, they speak for the rich."
He urged nomination conference delegates to choose their representatives to this month's ANC national elective conference in Mangaung carefully, pointing out that only the ANC was capable of and committed to building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society.
This weekend marks the deadline for leadership nominations for the ANC and there have been sharp divisions over whether Zuma should be proposed for a second term or be replaced by his deputy and former interim president Kgalema Motlanthe.
Motlanthe has steadfastly refused to say whether he will challenge Zuma, insisting that it is unethical to say anything prior to the receipt of all nominations at Johannesburg's Luthuli House ANC headquarters.
"The question will be answered once it's posed by the right body," he said after being told that Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, had nominated him as president.
Both SACP and trade union federation Cosatu have urged continuity, backing Zuma for president and Motlanthe as his deputy. Neither body will have direct representation in Mangaung, but their members who have dual ANC membership will be there.
However, Motlanthe's refusal to answer the "will he, won't he?" question has led some Zuma-supporting provinces, including KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the ANC Women's League to nominate businessman and former mineworkers' union leader Cyril Ramaphosa for deputy president.
The ANC Women's League, like the ANC Youth League, counts as a province. The youth are behind Motlanthe.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has spoken out against excluding Motlanthe from the party's top six positions, warning of "long-term implications for the unity of the ANC."
The trade unions had hoped to meet Motlanthe to persuade him against running for president and Vavi remains intent on discussing the matter with the deputy president.
If successful, he or someone else might have the additional job of persuading Ramaphosa not to accept nomination to challenge Motlanthe.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.