Elections show local democracy 'not maturing'

Pretoria - People's voting behaviour is evidence that local democracy is not maturing as the same underperforming political parties are constantly voted back into power, a local government expert said on Tuesday.

The country had seen a sharp increase in the number of protests, most of which were accompanied by violence, but people had still remained loyal to their parties, said Professor Jaap de Visser, of the University of Western Cape's community law centre.

"The voting behaviour is not based on the same consideration as protest behaviour.

"We see underperformance and frustration in many municipalities, but that does not translate to a change in voting behavior," he said at a conference on municipal services and tax, hosted by lobby group AfriForum at the Centurion council chambers.

De Visser acknowledged the high spirits during the local government elections on May 18 but noted concern at a "very dire" situation on the ground.

According to research he presented, violent protests increased in frequency from 41.6% in 2007 to 54% in 2010.

Most of the protests were about housing, water, sanitation, electricity and poor service delivery, and most were in Gauteng.

De Visser said statements issued by government showed that it was aware of the problem and was taking it seriously.

"Improvements in municipal governance are necessary," he said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 588 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 7106 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 899 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.72
+0.6%
Rand - Pound
20.15
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.57
-0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.46
+1.4%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.8%
Gold
1,709.04
+0.5%
Silver
20.82
+0.5%
Palladium
2,316.19
+4.1%
Platinum
921.91
+1.9%
Brent Crude
88.86
+4.2%
Top 40
59,554
+3.0%
All Share
66,042
+2.8%
Resource 10
64,108
+4.0%
Industrial 25
79,614
+2.7%
Financial 15
14,078
+1.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE