Independents & new parties contesting polls signal political reform - Mgitywa

With the disappointment of poor service delivery hanging thick in the air like the now common stench of leaking sewage, many communities in South Africa are looking outside of mainstream political parties for reprieve.

Picture: Cindy Archillies/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has registered over 30 new political parties, and the number of independent candidates has almost doubled, with over 1,700 of them taking part in the upcoming polls in exactly three weeks.

Political commentator, Makhosini Mgitywa, said that the increase in the number of independents and non-traditional political parties contesting in this year's local government elections was a sign of electoral reform.

At the centre of the messaging to attract voters was the call for communities in failing municipalities to take back their power.

With the disappointment of poor service delivery hanging thick in the air like the now common stench of leaking sewage, many communities in South Africa are looking outside of mainstream political parties for reprieve.

There is one such organisation - Save Madibeng Civic Movement in the North West. Its name paints a picture of the state of the Madibeng local municipality, which was one of 29 under administration in the country.

“I think civic movements are the future, but only those that are not aligned with political parties,” said convenor, Sydney Monnakgotla.

Political commentator, Makhosini Mgitywa, agreed, adding that the current trend boded well for communities.

“So, when voters elect people that they know that are community-based, it can only be a good thing.”

Mgitwya said communities should have more influence in all tiers of government, and these local government elections are where it should begin.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.