What voters want, and don't want to hear this year

2016-01-12 11:28

Cape Town – Until the country goes to the polls later this year, political parties will be making promise after promise.

One thing South Africans did not want to hear from political leaders was what a bad state the country was in, according to analysts.

Eastern Cape analyst Professor Joleen Steyn Kotze said there was much emphasis on the ills plaguing South Africa’s socio-political and socio-economic landscape during electioneering.

"We know that there is a sense that corruption is on the increase, that there are delivery failures, that we are in for a tough time with the severe drought and, of course, the impact of the falling rand following the poor decision making of President Zuma on the management of the finance ministry. South Africans are aware and attuned to these issues."

Local government political analyst Paul Berkowitz said South Africans were tired of the negative campaigns political parties ran against each other.

"Parties blaming each other for social ills takes away from the real issues."

On Thursday, the Electoral Commission of South Africa would announce its strategy for the 2016 local government elections. 

Steyn Kotze said parties needed to focus on strategies to help the country navigate the difficult time ahead, with as little impact as possible on society’s vulnerable. 

She said voters would be wary of broad promises and be looking for specific and measurable outcomes.

"In highly contested areas it is going to come down to who voters believe are sincere in their promises and have won their political hearts. Political parties will thus need to come out quite strong to either win or retain their specific wards."

Berkowitz said voters wanted clear, tangible promises they could quantify and understand.

"People would like to see a clear and easy-to-understand roadmap. Over the next five years, how many houses would be built? How will the health care system be improved in their specific area? How many houses will be added to the electricity grid? And why have the promises from the last elections not been fulfilled?”

He said voters were tired of vague and broken promises. It was unavoidable that parties would make promises in the fight for votes. Some, especially opposition parties, would make irresponsible promises as they were not responsible for delivering on them, he said.

Read more on:    local elections 2016

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