Before the 2019 South African general elections, several communities threatened to boycott the polls if their concerns were not addressed. Among them are towns and villages governed by the uThukela municipality, based in Ladysmith. This town in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal is the home of the world-famous choir of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the town and made many promises, and in the end, no serious boycott took place. But as Local Voices reporter Siyabonga Motha reports, months later residents say service delivery has not improved. Listen to his report below.
The campaign for the May 8 election is only a memory. MPs have taken their seats, and a new cabinet is running South Africa. A key issue in the campaign, which is still confronting the country, is around land. But a different issue may have been even more important for communities in the campaign: water. As shown by the Local Voices reporting project, many community protests focused strongly on sanitation and clean drinking water even though politicians said little on the topic. But since then, there has been little progress. Listen to Siyabonga Motha’s report, below.
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 – Deputy
National Police Commissioner Fanie Masemola says the 22 people who were
arrested over allegations of double voting, had in fact, been found to have only
attempted to double vote.
journalists at an IEC media briefing on Friday night that after police had
investigated the cases of those who were arrested, it was found that none of
them had succeeded with their plans to vote more than once.
attempts have been made, those places that have been concluded, the finding has
been that there has not yet been any evidence of successful multiple voting.”
police are continuing with investigations, adding;
those on social media still claiming to have voted more than once. We’re still
looking for them. We’ve appealed to the public to assist us in identifying
number of people (17) arrested for alleged double voting were nabbed in a
polling station in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Another two, believed to be brothers,
attempted to vote more than once in Hluhluwe, also in KZN, and one person was
arrested in Mpumalanga province.
They all face
charges of breaching South Africa’s Electoral Act.
Leader of the Black First, Land First (BLF) party, Andile Mngxitama says his
party will not be going to court with other ‘smaller parties’ to dispute the
election results, even though it supports their call and the grievances they’ve
raised against the IEC.
Mngxitama says he is not happy with the BLF election results as he feels that his party was robbed. But, going to court is not a route they are ready to take. He says this is because South Africa’s courts, like many other institutions, are hostile to the BLF and what it represents.
speaking from the National Results Operations Center in Pretoria on Friday.
robbed…systematically. There’s enough evidence. However, we are not going to
court. We support those who are going to court. We’re not going to court
because we’ve been to court since the beginning of this electoral process and
we know the courts are hostile to the black agenda just like Wits University
are opposed to the black agenda,” says Mngxitama.
adds that an election re-run would allow the BLF and other parties who’ve
declared the elections as unfree and unfair, an opportunity to guard against
their votes being stolen.
says, it is unlikely that the courts would agree to an election re-run because
they, like the IEC, are biased against any political party that doesn’t form
part of the top three.
He says these parties; the ANC, DA and EFF are all just one unit designed and coached to drive the agenda of land thieves and white monopoly capital.
will give us an opportunity to guard better the votes that were stolen. But no
court is going to say yes [to an election re-run). Courts are with the one
party that stands at number one, number two and number three on this board. ANC,
DA and EFF are one party – a party of white monopoly capital. Our courts are
also in the interest of this white monopoly capital so they are not going to
allow anyone to disrupt that arrangement,” adds Mngxitama.
percent of the vote was counted on Saturday morning, the BLF stood at over 19,800
votes nationally. (Edited by Philile Masango)
Popular musician and Western Cape Province native, Ringo Madlingozi says his
music has always reflected his political aspirations for his fans and
supporters – the black African people.
to Local Voices from the National Results Center in Pretoria today, Madlingozi
said he is elated by the performance of his political party; the Economic
Freedom Fighters (EFF).
on the EFF’s parliament list. This means he could be one of the people
representing the party in South Africa’s sixth democratic parliament as MP.
cardinal pillars of the EFF talk to me. The dignity that EFF is talking about
as a people, is what I’ve been singing about in all my music. The people who
know my music will know and understand that I am right where I’m supposed to
be,” said Madlingozi.
After 96% of the votes were counted on Friday evening, figures showed that the EFF had almost doubled its support from the 6% it attained in May 2014. This means the party could increase the number of parliament seats from its current 25; providing a real opportunity for Madlingozi to serve in national politics.
Madlingozi is the second popular entertainer to sit on the high ranks of the EFF. Actor Fana Mokoena, who has shared the big screen with many famed actors including Brad Pitt, became an EFF MP in 2014. (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,