Fed up community takes matters into own hands

Fed up community takes matters into own hands

The community of Dambeni in Ntabankulu, in the Eastern Cape, hired their own tractor to fix a badly damaged road.

The move followed failed attempts over the past few years to get the municipality to revamp the access road to the area.

Local Voice’s Karabo Tebele has voiced this report by Simphiwe Tyaleni.

Promises, promises in uThukela

Promises, promises in uThukela

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.

Water: invisible during the election, invisible since

Water: invisible during the election, invisible since

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.

Innovation in news: local WhatsApp channel grows during election period

Innovation in news: local WhatsApp channel grows during election period

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.

As is characteristic of the channel, its launch was also unconventional; it happened on another of the 21st century’s ground-breaking communication tools, Twitter.

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.

So, although 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.

Local Voices 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)

Pioneering uncharted territory; author, musician and editorial lead of the ground-breaking #SMWX WhatsApp news channel Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh chats to Local Voices’ Veronica Makhoali about the growth of this new platform.

Future voters have mixed feelings about current politics

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.

Local Voices 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 appealing?

For some, none.

“Personally, 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.

Benjamin Chelule, and Iviwe Ntandane Unarine Luvhengo also from St. Alban’s College agreed with Luvhengo.

Meanwhile, primary 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.

Makhanya 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)

12 year old Ndaloenhle Makhanya from
Pinnacle College Rynfield shares some insights on being a future voter.
‘We’re here to change the political game’ – #FeesMustFall MP

‘We’re here to change the political game’ – #FeesMustFall MP

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.

Hassan is one of the youngest members of parliament of the African National Congress (ANC).

In October 2018, she won an international award; the Student Peace Prize for her “nonviolent efforts towards gaining equal access to higher education”.

In an 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.

“We are 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.

Hassan goes 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.

Local Voices reporter Veronica Makhoali speaks to #FeesMustFall activist and new ANC member of parliament (MP), Fasiha Hassan about her outlook into her new role as an MP.

Hassan says 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)

No evidence of double voting; only attempts made

No evidence of double voting; only attempts made

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.

Masemola told 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.

“Although 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.”

Masemola says police are continuing with investigations, adding;

“There are 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 them.”

The largest 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.

‘Robbed’ BLF will not go to court

‘Robbed’ BLF will not go to court

Gauteng – 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.

He was speaking from the National Results Operations Center in Pretoria on Friday.

“We were 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.

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.

However, he 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.

“A re-run 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.

After 99.93 percent of the vote was counted on Saturday morning, the BLF stood at over 19,800 votes nationally. (Edited by Philile Masango)

Black First, Land First (BLF) party, Andile Mngxitama discusses his party’s reaction to the election results with Local Voices’ Siyabonga Motha
Ringo: From popular singer to Member of Parliament?

Ringo: From popular singer to Member of Parliament?

Gauteng – 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.

Speaking exclusively 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).

Madlingozi is 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.

“The seven 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)

Singer Ringo Madlingozi says even as an EFF member, he will never stop singing because his music addresses socio-political issues that the EFF ascribes to.
“2019 election is not free and fair; a rerun necessary” – ‘smaller political parties’

“2019 election is not free and fair; a rerun necessary” – ‘smaller political parties’

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.

They listed several issues that they say characterize the election for a sixth democratic government as unfair.

Among the 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.

“The 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.

“These 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 People’s Convention.

African People’s Convention’s Adil Nchabeleng is concerned about media bias when it comes to election news coverage of political parties.

“The results 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.

Zanele Lwana of the Black First, Land First (BLF) party stating their concerns at the IEC results center in Pretoria.

“We don’t 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 Forward.

Women Forward says the arrests made with regard the questionable credibility of the indelible ink, are a confirmation by the IEC, that the election had disturbing irregularities.

The ‘smaller 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),
  • EcoForum,
  • 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,
  • Land Party,
  • National Freedom Party (NFP),
  • Forum for Service Delivery (F4SD),
  • International Revelation Congress (IRC)
  • PAU, and others.

(Edited by Philile Masango)