Gauteng – The
Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh Xperience, otherwise commonly known to its users as #SMWX, is
the latest local innovation in delivering news to mass audiences.
The #SMWX is
a WhatsApp channel launched to the public in a little under two months before
the election on March 10.
characteristic of the channel, its launch was also unconventional; it happened
on another of the 21st century’s ground-breaking communication tools,
Two months later this instant communication channel is standing at about 13,000 users. It was launched with the aim to deliver election-related content to, especially young people, in a precise and appealing format.
it has thousands of users, it does not work like a WhatsApp group. Instead, it
presents as if a user is having a one-on-one conversation with Sizwe
Mpofu-Walsh, who is the #SMWX Editorial Lead.
caught up with Mpofu-Walsh who explained that the look, feel, and timing and
credibility of the content shared on this inventive platform is the key approach
to capturing a mass audience.
“Once a day,
we send you [user] a quick piece of content and you can get it right on
WhatsApp. In that way we want to meet people where they are; because young
people are on WhatsApp. We’re tired of TV, we’re tired of radio and your phone
is where your life is and that’s where we want to meet you,” said Mpofu-Walsh.
“I think the key thing about the spread of information in the current era we’re in is that you need to be able to keep pace with information. I’ve just been blown by how quickly stuff spreads on WhatsApp. We’ve never advertised this [channel].
I literally, one day on my Twitter said, hey guys, here’s a link [to the channel] and two months later we’re nearly the size of big pay TV channels on DStv. So access to information is also about access to fast information. But the even better thing is access to fast credible information and WhatsApp allows us to give you those two things which are quite rare at the moment,” continued Mpofu-Walsh.
The vibrant and colorful look of #SMWX is also done strategically to influence narratives about African identify according to Mpofu-Walsh who is also an author and musician.
“We realized very quickly that if we want to catch the eye of our audience, it had to look spectacular and that’s why we have the colors…But we also want to decolonize our images, so everything you see on the channel has an African print…we’re just like, this is how decolonization looks like on your screen,” said Mpofu-Walsh. (Edited by Philile Masango)
Gauteng – During
election week, the National Results Operations Center (ROC) in Pretoria was a
hub of activity, not just for politicians and the media, but also for visitors
who were keen to observe the democratic election process at work.
Some of these
visitors were hard to miss; donned in full school uniform.
spoke to these young South Africans who are the country’s future voters who
said it is important to them to understand politics at a young age in order to
be adults who make informed decisions in future.
So, which political
views do they share with political parties, will they indeed be voting in
future, and if they had to cast their votes today, which party would be
I wouldn’t vote until I find a party that is worthy of my vote; someone that
cares to make the country a better place. Right now, there isn’t a political
party that I can identify with and that shares my interests. Right now, there
isn’t such a political party,” said Unarine Luvhengo from St. Alban’s College.
Chelule, and Iviwe Ntandane Unarine Luvhengo also from St. Alban’s College
agreed with Luvhengo.
school going Ndaloenhle Makhanya sounded a little more hopeful.
He said if
he had to have his own political party, it would ensure that all South Africans
are sheltered in free housing and safe.
added that he considers it important for young children to learn visit the ROC
and generally learn about politics, democracy and elections because they learn
all about the legalities and illegalities of voting which will help them in
future when it is their time to start voting.
“Being here is a very good experience. It teaches children what happens and how it (elections) happen. Sometimes there’s talk about different political parties, how people have been voting twice and how illegal that is…so they would be aware when it’s their chance to vote,” said 12 year old Makhanya who goes to from Pinnacle College Rynfield. (Edited by Philile Masango)
Gauteng – Former Wits University student and one of the #FeesMustFall leaders Fasiha Hassan, says she and her co-leaders in the student movement are entering parliament as vibrant young people who are determined to change the political game for the benefit of all South Africans.
one of the youngest members of parliament of the African National Congress
2018, she won an international award; the Student Peace Prize for her
“nonviolent efforts towards gaining equal access to higher education”.
interview with Local Voices, Hassan said even after government made a
resolution to roll-out free tertiary education after the student-led #feesmustfall
countrywide protests, she remained concerned about those classified as “the
missing middle” who do not qualify for free education.
having issues with implementation and the actual roll-out. But for me, it’s
about what are we going to do with about the missing middle? We’ve spoken about
this before; that it’s not middle class students, but they are students who don’t
qualify for government funding but also don’t qualify for loans.”
Hassan says in her role as a member of the incoming parliament, she will definitely prioritize the review and implementation of free and quality tertiary education.
“One of the big things we really want to put forward is a policy position and a policy narrative to deal with students like these [missing middle]. So it’s really ultimately looking at step two of free education. And actually, I think it only makes sense that we #feesmustfall leaders; not just myself but a number of others, lead the call now, moving on from universities and into mainstream politics and the mainstream part of the state,” added Hassan.
into parliament with fellow #FeesMustFall activists Naledi Chirwa, Peter Keetse,
Piaba Madokwe and Vuyani Pambo, all from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and
Nompendulo Mkatshwa from the ANC. They,
and other student leaders, were at the forefront of the #feesmustfall protests
that started in 2015.
she also wants to be the driving voice for young women’s rights in particular.
She says the legalization of sex work for instance, should form a huge part of
the national agenda.
“As young women we think differently right? It’s lived experience but we also have that innovation. That’s why I’m particularly excited not just to be an ANC member but to be a young woman in politics right now because across the board, we’re seeing young people about to enter this space. And I really do think it’s going to start to change the political game,” said Hassan. (Edited by Philile Masango)
Gauteng – Political parties that refer to themselves as ‘so-called smaller political parties’ have declared the 2019 general election as not free nor fair and are demanding a re-run.
The ‘smaller parties’, comprising mainly of the newly established ones, staged a protest at the National Results Operating Center in Pretoria on Thursday evening.
several issues that they say characterize the election for a sixth democratic
government as unfair.
issues listed is the reported double voting in some parts of the country, the
questionable credibility of the indelible ink, inconsistencies in the delivery
of IEC duties at voting stations, and media reporting which they say focuses on
only three political parties (ANC, DA and EFF) at the expense of their parties.
that are here are not convinced that the trajectory that we are on, is a
trajectory that will deliver on a free and fair election. There a quite a
number of issues that have been raised by all of us that are here. All these
issues have indeed been put to the attention of the IEC,” said – African
Transformation Movement President Mzwanele Manyi.
elections were not free and fair, so we are going to court to contest this
because only the three biggest political parties were given media attention. I
can tell you that even yesterday they [media] were moving around here in front
of us and did not even look at us. We looked like some cheap stuff here and yet
we paid an equal amount [of money] for registration,” said Adil Nchabeleng of African
that we see on this board make a total ridicule of all the work that we have
done as so-called smaller parties as you have chosen to describe us. We are
very dissatisfied with the irregularities but there is a political program to
alienate dissenting voices who speak against the status quo in this country,”
said Black First, Land First Deputy President Zanele Lwana.
know why these results are being put on the board because IEC itself, in all
the meetings that we’ve attended, has been agreeing with us that there are a
lot of irregularities. The IEC should stop what it’s doing and go back and
re-elect…they can’t arrest people for irregularities and continue giving us the
results. This is wrong and the IEC is wrong,” said Bofa Ledwaba of Women
parties’ have officially lodged a dispute with the Independent Electoral
Commission (IEC) with regards the concerns they have raised.
The list of
political parties that are demanding an election rerun are:
African Transformation Movement (ATM),
African People’s Convention (APC),
African Content Movement (ACM),
Women Forward (WF),
Black First Land First (BLF),
Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SWRP),
Better Residents Association (BRA),
CPM, Forum for Service Delivery,
South African Congress of Traditional Authorities,
Commission of South Africa (IEC) announced on Tuesday at a media briefing in
Sandton that it upheld objections against Pan Africanist Congress of Azania’s (PAC)
Alton Mphethi against contesting in the upcoming elections.
The Former PAC
President was sentenced to prison in 2016 after a man was beaten to death at
his house in 2008.
South African Law, convicted criminals, sentenced to more than 12 months
imprisonment without an option of a fine, are not eligible to contest for
and Pan African Affairs Secretary, Jackie Seroke confirmed the party had
objected to Mphethi’s candidacy.
“If the laws of
the country do not agree that someone with a criminal background should not be
a public representative, it is well and in order with us.” he said.
body dismissed all objections brought against the African National Congress
(ANC) Black First Land First (BLF), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the
Democratic Alliance (DA) and various political parties.
ANC received 29
objections in total, followed by the BLF with the second highest number of
objections at 19. The EFF received 13 objections and four each against the DA
and the Land Party.
Commission dismissed all other objections for failing to meet the
constitutional and statutory criteria. The majority of these objections related
to unproven allegations, “the IEC’s Moepya concluded.
The #AlexShutdown protest saw residents march into Sandton to hand over a memorandum of demands on April 8, as parties continued to point fingers at each other.
However the memorandum was not received by
the municipal director or the executive Mayor Herman Mashaba as residents
Speaking to Local Voices, Alex FM reporter Malesela Mangena said the protest has been postponed until Thursday, 11th April. He reported that organisers fear the protest may become chaotic and found it best to suspend the march as residents have become inpatient with the municipal office.
In response to the #AlexShutdown, Gauteng
Premier David Makhura announced on
Twitter that President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the community of Alexandra
on Thursday at Alex Stadium.
Responding to the Democratic Alliance’s
claim that the African National Congress is inciting violence in Alex, he said
the opposition is “blame-shifting” and not delivering to the community.
The ruling party’s Tumelo Ramoshala said “the ANC is sharing the same sentiment as the community of Alexandra and raising out their own grievances over the dissatisfaction of service delivery.”
He adde it was unfortunate that Solly
Msimanga, DA candidate for Gauteng Premier, was trying to shift attention from
the issue of service delivery to its political opponents.
If you are likely to find yourself away from home on May 8t, you have two weeks to apply to cast a special vote in the 2019 elections.
According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) “a special
vote allows a registered voter who can’t cast their vote at their voting
station on Election Day to apply to vote on a predetermined day before Election
In a statement released on April 4, the IEC said the window period for
applications by voters to cast special votes in this year’s election has
officially opened and is set to close by the 18 April 2019
Voters eligible to cast a special vote as they will be away from their voting
stations include police, public servants, emergency medical service workers and
A second kind of special vote is available to voters who are unable to
reach a voting station due to physical frailty, disability or pregnancy.
Special votes will be cast on the two days before May 8, the IEC said.