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Social media and the effect it may put on SA’s 2014 general elections : An analysis by ISS Pretoria

Will social media influence election campaigning in South Africa?

26 November 2013

A big change in political campaigning since South Africa’s last national elections has been the rise in social media. But how has this new dynamic manifested in South Africa, and to what extent is it a factor in political campaigning? The use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube has emerged as an important electoral campaigning tool in recent years. Understanding the electoral power of social media could prove very rewarding for political parties, particularly in the lead-up to the 2014 national elections.

The potential impact of social media campaigning first became evident in the 2008 United States (US) presidential election. President Barack Obama’s campaign included the use of sites such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, along with other social media such as podcasting and mobile messaging.

The election, dubbed by some the ‘Facebook election’, saw nearly 70% of the vote among Americans aged 25 years and younger going to Obama. The number of his Facebook and Twitter followers increased on a daily basis, and the sites allowed users to publish activities and send postings to one another. By 2011, Obama’s Twitter account – @BarackObama, which he used to promote legislation and support for his policies – was the third Twitter account in the world to have at least 10 million followers.

In Africa, a recent example of the use of social media in an election campaign was during the 2013 general elections in Kenya. Social media became one of the key tools used by most of the presidential candidates to engage with young voters. President Uhuru Kenyatta’s use of social media and digital communication played an instrumental role in his election campaign.

Kenyatta’s Facebook page received close to 500 000 ‘likes’ or followers in the run-up to the elections, making it one of the most ‘liked’ pages in Kenya. In a research study conducted by Portland Communications, Kenya has been identified as Africa’s second most active country on Twitter, following South Africa. Kenya has over 14 million Internet users, many of whom make use of social media sites.

In South Africa an estimated 88% of young people (15–34 years old) live in a dwelling that has access to a landline, cellular telephone or the Internet, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The results of a research study in 2012 that was commissioned by infoDev, a global partnership programme within the World Bank Group, about the use of mobile phones in South Africa, found that more than 75% of South Africans (15 years and older) reportedly owned a cell phone.

A 2012 UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) study titled the ‘South African mobile generation’ found that the country’s residents were among ‘the highest users of mobile technology and mobile social networking on the continent’. This means that young South Africans are now making use of social media to express their views on the country’s democratic processes.

A student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, during a presentation on the 2011 Reconciliation Barometer survey results, made the following comment: ‘Most of us … grew up in a digital age. Our socialisation and media, especially media, is the part that actually informs us most … Now, as it relates to political affiliations … [we] say what’s this trend about voting and regurgitating my vote for the same party, whereas there’s a new trend now … As young people we are not fully informed, we don’t read a lot, we Google and we Facebook a lot and watch TV…’.

In a bid to increase the number of first-time voters (those aged 18 and above) and registered voters aged under 35, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has embarked on a campaign to encourage the youth to register for South Africa’s 2014 national elections. As part of this registration drive the IEC is also turning to social media. According to the IEC’s Chief Electoral Officer, Mosotho Moepya, ‘We have also made an effort to put in place capacity on our social media platforms, namely Facebook, Twitter and Mxit, to deal with queries from our technology-savvy youth in a medium that they are familiar with.’

This strategy appears to be bearing fruit, as the IEC’s Facebook page received over 60 000 ‘likes’ or followers ahead of the voter registration drive, with at least 10 000 followers ‘talking about this’ or actively engaging on the IEC’s Facebook page.

Following the IEC’s voter registration campaign, 2,5 million South Africans registered to vote on the weekend of 9–10 November. Just over 1 million of these were registering for the first time and, encouragingly, 881 011 (80%) of new registrations came from young people aged 18–29. Registration levels among those aged 20–29 also increased from 49,1% to 54,5%.

New political parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by controversial former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, have seemingly caught on to the power of social media in their electoral campaigning. The EFF’s Facebook page has received more ‘likes’ or followers than that of any other South African political party. As of 13 November the EFF had approximately 56 396 ‘likes’, followed by the ANC with 54 315, the Democratic Alliance (DA) with 41 812 and AgangSA with 28 491.

Interestingly, the picture on Twitter is very different, with the older, more established parties attracting the most followers. The ANC twitter handle @MyANC_ has 81 368 followers, followed by the DA (@DA_News) with 44 602, AgangSA (@AgangSA) with 36 719 and the EFF (@EconFreedomZA) trailing behind with 28 198. In South Africa, however, Facebook is still ranked as the most popular social networking tool with 3,2 million users, compared with Twitter at 1,1 million users, as found in a global online survey conducted by Google in 2011.

With social media and digital communication increasingly being used as tools for marketing and market research, it makes sense to use them for election campaigns. Of course, the extent to which this proves effective in attracting young voters to political parties will only be known after the country’s national elections next year. Be that as it may, South Africa’s political parties still have more to gain than lose in entering the social media sphere in the run-up to the elections.

Lauren Tracey, Researcher, Governance, Crime and Justice Division, ISS Pretoria



Pakistan to include Taliban in peace talks

From the political conflict resolution or peace-keeping models, the efforts by the Pakistani government is an important step into the right direction. This has been long overdue and awaited by those affected by the aging conflict between the these two parties. In the political perspective, no animosity can be eradicated without involing all the role-players in that regard.
By including the Taliban, even if its viewed as the most extremist movement by the larger part of the international community, will bring about a more meaningful talks about the ending of the long faught battles.


Published time: October 30, 2013 19:48

(FILE) Pakistani Taliban commander Hakeemullah (2L) arrives for a press conference along with guards in the Mamouzai area of Orakzai Agency. (AFP Photo / Tariq Mahmood)

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wants the Taliban to become part of the…

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Counting the mistakes: A Nation uncertain

It’s just only few months remaining before the South African 2014 general elections.The country is still at some sort of uncertainty on who they must cast thier vote at the polling stations, come 2014. Only certain are those loyal to their political parties or those who are self-brainwashed with the ideology that; should any other party (except the current ruling party) take over the government, the barbaric historical imbalances will re-surface. Some are even mentioning that they will rather suffer under the current regime rather than risking to expose a whole new experience by not keeping the current party in the government.

It so amazing and fascinating to recount on the recent political changes that took place in the country. The new kid on the block (EFF), has evoked a further uncertainty in the majority of black population. Most notably in the youth and quite considerable part of the older population. With its “pro-economic reform” policies, the suffering part of the population has seen it (EFF) as their savior. We are jet to see if indeed the EFF will champion what they calls the “economic oppression of the masses”.

On the other hand, the infighting-affected COPE has managed to settle its two leaders’ long term leadership battle. Mosioua Lekota has been declared a legitimate COPE leader by the court. Does this imply the resignation of Mbazhima Shilowa or another attempt (his) to topple Lekota at the next conference (if there will be any) or another court battle??

The importance of these two parties is that; they were all given to birth by the factional battles within the ANC. They are both the derivatives of the ANC and were or are  the self-proclaimed reformists’ within the ANC last hope.

These are the political mistakes the parties commit, which as the result, leave the nation out of alternative choice at the polls. If the parties in opposition (most notably those derived from the ANC) can behave in a manner that is more politically focused, coherent, and internally organised, perhaps they may prove right their reasons for exiting their former parties. The latter will as well make a shift on any other ordinary citizen’s political mentality that “what if the alternative party wins the elections”, to a more informed mentality that any party as long as it is unified can rule the state. This can only be attained by the opposition parties by practically demonstrating their expertise in the constitutional and self-governing policies.

Who cares? Politics, Elections and SA’s young generation


To depart with, the layout of this essay draws much from the two political periods of SA, namely; the Mbeki era and the current Zuma era. It is more important that we view these eras as the most important political epochs that influenced the political landscapes in SA, the election processes and the degree to which the young generation have been politically active or if not so, suffered from mental “political darkness”.

A point to bear in mind though is; the role of the opposition parties is not ignored in totality in this essay as the ANC-led government is used as the core actor or instigator of SA’s political activity.

President Mbeki’s government was which one many may argue that, was more focused on economic growth and rebuilding the African continental structures. This was witnessed by the economic policies which were applied during his tenure at the helm of the state, such as the GEAR and as for Africa, by the role of SA in reviving the then inept OAU. During this era one may be quick to point out that the political dynamics within the ruling party seemed at sanity as the infighting within the ruling party was not publicised as it has recently. The re-election of Mbeki for the second term as both the head of state and the ANC substantiates such claim.

The young generation during Mbeki era was not politically vocal as the status quo within the state and party politics was well maintained. The ANC youth wing was well behaved and therefore giving a practical indication that the young generation was not interested in the political affairs. In regards to the elections, the fair and free elections of 2004 showed that the state’s politics were nowhere near hints of turmoil. The remarkable win by the ANC further proved that the masses, including the young generation, were content with state politics.

Then came the famous Polokwane ANC elective conference (Dec 2007). The conference came at the time when the Mbeki era was faced with lots of criticism from those who were calling themselves the “forces of change” within the echelons of Luthuli House. It must be mentioned that, the formation of such a faction drew much from the expulsion of Zuma from the cabinet by Mbeki amid his alleged involvement in the corruption case levelled against his ally, Shabir Schaik. The constitutional route took by Mbeki on Zuma, as a cabinet member, was viewed by this faction as politically incorrect.

This faction prior to Polokwane presented SA politics with the then ANCYL leader, Julius Malema. Malema was amongst the vocal opponents of Mbeki in the build-up to Polokwane ANC conference. With his political gift of the gab, he aroused the political awareness of the great portion of the SA young generation. At Polokwane Mbeki was ousted by Zuma and his camp, and ultimately recalled from the head of state position by the then Zuma-led ANC’s NEC. This was the unprecedented move ever in the SA politics; Rev. Frank Chikane mentions that in his book (8 days in September).

“In the run-up to the 2014 elections and in an attempt to get the approximately 4 million young people registered and ready to vote, organisations such as the IEC are making every effort to educate the youth on the importance of voting” wrote Lauren Tracey of the ISS in her article:

This may be equated to as suggesting that the young generation has been identified by the IEC as partly politically aware which might be contributing to their voting apathy.  (more…)

The Farce of the US Government ‘Shutdown’

The Republican-led house failed to take heed of Obama-led Demoracts’ advises on how to avoid the shutdown. The debate regarding this debacle has been going on behind the walls of the White House for quite some time. Now the question to every american citizen or any other individual touched by the recent shutdown is: are the federal government policies manipulated by the the political opponents for the benefit of discrediting one another???

FIFA upholds decision on Cape Verde.

Cape Verde left out in cold by the world football body

Official SirVic

THE FIFA Appeal Committee Tuesday informed the Cape Verdean Football Association (FCF) that it has thrown out its appeal over the decision to award victory in the World Cup qualifier against Tunisia to the Carthage Eagles.
Cape Verde defeated Tunisia 2-0 in Tunis to qualify for the final round of the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying series, but the Carthage Eagles petitioned FIFA following the discovery that Cape Verde fielded an ineligible player in the game.

After investigating the case, FIFA declared the match in question forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favour of Tunisia, meaning that the Cape Verde Islands did not progress to round three of the FIFA World Cup African zone qualifiers having dropped to second place in Group B with nine points, while Tunisia advance having finished first with 14 points.

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Not Everything Closed During Government Shutdown

An analysis of the US federal goverment shutdown.


WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – While national parks, many federal offices and museums remain closed, some essential government services continue to operate.

The government will continue release economic data, like the unemployment figures on Friday. The Treasury Department says such information is vital to the American and global economy.

Patent and Trademark Office can remain open for four weeks after the shutdown by drawing on fees and other funds.

Some food inspections will continue. The Food Safety and Inspection Service will continue all safety-related activities. The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration can continue inspections which are paid by user fees. The Food and Drug Administration will continue to monitor recalls and conduct investigations though other activities will cease.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts expects to stay open through the shutdown. While it receives an annual appropriation from Congress it also runs on ticket revenue and endowment funds.

The IRS…

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Dangote builds N2b hospital in Kano 

The Nigerian multibillionaires are the real refrections of the co-operative governance. Dangote did excatly what any wealthy individual ought to do to thier communities. We cannot always rely on the government to fulfil other developments that are lacking behind. I hope this charitable and life contributing initiative will encourage or stimulate other world magnates to help where is due. It’s all about being a human being and show your emotional side of it towards other struggling people. We need indeed all over African continent peeople by Mr. Dangote. Africa in this regard will prospers.

Official SirVic

DANGOTE Foundation yesterday began the construction of what has been described as one of Africa’ most ambitious health facilities located in Kano State.
It is worth N2 billion.
Also, the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said he is planning to build the world’s best hospital in Kano State to stop medical tourism that has cost Nigeria billions of naira.
The medical facilities, named Mariya Sanusi Dantata Ultramodern Theatre Complex and a diagnostic laboratory, are situated within the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano.
Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony, Dangote, the foundation’s chairman, said: “It is not just about creating a modern, new sorely needed medical facility in this great city of ours. It is about our broader commitment to systematically improving the health and well-being, which is one of our areas of focus. We believe that every Nigerian has a right to quality healthcare. We…

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Vatican Bank To Shut All Embassy Accounts To Halt Money Laundering

Pope Francis seems to me to be a true leader of the St. Peters church. Is this one of the long time corruption going on in the church or does he (pope) forsee it?? More questions than the answers..

Jordan: In His Prime He Could Beat LeBron, Not Kobe

Is it true??? Open to all the NBA fanatics

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NBA legend Michael Jordan says in his prime he could beat LeBron James in a one-on-one basketball game.

He’s not sure about Kobe Bryant.

In a video promoting the NBA 2K14 video game that is being released today, Jordan says there’s a “long list” of players he would’ve liked to have played one-on-one _ Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Bryant and James, who dons the cover of this year’s video game.

In the video Jordan confidently says, “I don’t think I would lose _ other than to Kobe Bryant because he steals all of my moves.”

Jordan, a six-time NBA champion and considered by many the greatest basketball player ever, has had a sponsorship deal with 2K Sports since 2011.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Sports Stories…

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