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Elections: The SMS trend

A media analyst says parties must think twice before employing companies to send out bulk SMSs.

A media analyst says parties must think twice before employing companies to send out bulk SMSs. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A media analyst says political parties may be doing themselves a disservice by sending unsolicited SMSs to canvass for votes.

With less than four weeks to go to the 2014 general elections, political parties are pulling out all the stops to get the electorate's attention.

Newcomers on the political scene, with a small budget, say they rely on social media as they don't have a lot of cash to spend on campaigning.

World Wide Worx media analyst Arthur Goldstuck says political parties that are sending out SMSs to canvas for votes are actually guilty of spamming South Africans.

Goldstuck believes this is a bad move and parties must think twice before employing companies to send out bulk SMSs.

"You're also going to annoy and irritate people with an SMS. You've really got to do a risk analysis of how much damage is going to go alone with the impact you're going to make."

But he adds that electioneering via social media will be massive in the 2019 elections.

A newcomer on the political scene says it doesn't have the budget for posters, radio and television adverts, so You Tube, Twitter and Facebook are essential tools to get noticed.

NKANDLA SMS

The Democratic Alliance (DA) recently sent a text message to members and supporters, accusing President Jacob Zuma of "stealing" public money for upgrades to his private KwaZulu-Natal home.

This after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's two-year long probe found the president benefitted unduly from the R250 million upgrades to Nkandla.

The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday instructed its legal team to appeal an earlier ruling on the controversial SMS.

The Johannesburg court on Friday found the SMS to be " fair comment", given Madonsela's findings.

The protector's use of the phrase "licence to loot" in relation to the upgrades proved crucial to the case and judgment.

The ANC says it believes Acting Judge Mike Hellens applied the wrong law to settle the dispute.

The ruling party says it's confident a higher court will reach a different conclusion.