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The role of party politics & voter education in marginalising voters

Amidst protests across the country, it’s becoming clear that voters understand how election season is the time to be heard, yet many are unlikely to vote for the change they want.

FILE: Alexandra residents march to the City of Johannesburg local municipal offices on 8 April 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN..

JOHANNESBURG - As service delivery protests spread around the country, it’s becoming clear that voters understand how election season is the time to be heard, yet many are unlikely to vote for the change they want.

Eyewitness News looks at the role of party politics and voter education in marginalising voters.

Maseeiso Nyama from the small town of QwaQwa in the Free State says she was told to vote for an allegedly corrupt former mayor to be on the candidate list, because if she didn’t, the African National Congress (ANC) would lose.

Director of My Vote Counts Joel Bregman says this is the result of voter education that only focuses on procedures and not how people can decide who to vote for.

“In South Africa, there is no legislation compelling parties to comply with democratic principles and they are voluntary associations so they have their own rules. Members need to learn how to call for reform when they see unfair and discriminatory practices.”

My Vote Counts will launch a campaign in April to promote intra-party democracy.

But political analyst professor Tinyiko Maluleke is sceptical about the impact of such an exercise.

“We are a boisterous lot... we protest every day, we know how to pressurise, but sometimes this is a crony system, and everybody wants to get in. When people say they want to vote for ANC, it’s because they think it will give them the biggest chance to get in.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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