SA 'loses interest' in politics after vote

accreditation
Mxit has announced a new smartphone focus. (Mxit)
Mxit has announced a new smartphone focus. (Mxit)
Cape Town - The South African national elections highlighted the engagement on social media between voters and political parties, but interest waned after the vote.

Data from social network Mxit showed that South Africans in droves turned to the platform to engage with political parties.

While the African National Congress has 162 000 Facebook fans and 124 00 followers on Twitter, the party has over 440 000 subscribers on Mxit.

"The apps remain active, though activity is now obviously much lower than in the lead up to the elections," Mxit CEO Francois Swart told News24.

Social media has been growing in popularity in South African politics and a number of political parties have more than one engagement channel.

Healthy democracy

The fact that the engagement dropped after the election was disappointing to some.

"I think it's fair to speculate that now that elections are over, political parties will lift their foot off the social media pedal and relax a little, which is a pity. Democracy is about so much more than elections," social media consultant for Afrosocialmedia Samantha Fleming told News24.

The ANC emerged as the dominant party in the elections, winning 62% of the vote, followed by the Democratic Alliance at 22% and the Economic Freedom Fighters at 6%.

Check out the full election results here

Fleming said that the results indicate that SA has a healthy democracy.

"It feels momentous in that we have managed to come through our fifth national election peacefully with a "free and fair" stamp.
It definitely wasn't a one horse race, despite the ANC still winning over 60%.

"Having said that, the engagement levels on social media were still very shallow."

On Mxit the ANC host a number of "Live Chat" sessions on their MyANC application; the DA's DemocraCITY game was modelled on a mobile version of SIM City where players had the task of taking care of a country.

Mxit said that people in the 18 to 25 year old age bracket were most active on the platform and make up half the user base.

Fleming said that the social media momentum gained during the election period could be harnessed as an engagement platform as parties seek ways to understand the needs of the electorate.

"Ideally, the momentum gained in the last few months would give a great springboard for citizen action to strengthen participation and democratic debate. Only time will tell whether political parties will use the momentum they have gained."


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you 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.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
What potential restrictions on unvaccinated South Africans may make the biggest difference to public health, the economy?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Limited access to restaurants and bars
12% - 514 votes
Limited access to shopping centres
17% - 740 votes
Limited access to live events, including sport matches and festivals
29% - 1299 votes
Workplace vaccine mandates
43% - 1909 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.61
-1.4%
Rand - Pound
20.15
-1.0%
Rand - Euro
17.19
-1.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.65
-0.8%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-1.0%
Gold
1,752.26
-2.3%
Silver
22.90
-3.9%
Palladium
2,027.79
+0.6%
Platinum
937.00
-1.2%
Brent Crude
75.46
+2.5%
Top 40
57,098
-1.9%
All Share
63,314
-1.7%
Resource 10
58,796
-4.0%
Industrial 25
80,358
-0.1%
Financial 15
13,942
-2.4%
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