The Power of Online in the 2019 Elections in South Africa

In a couple of days voters across the country will line up at the polls to vote in the 2019 elections in South Africa. This year 48 parties have successfully made it to the ballots. Over the past several months most of these parties have been using various platforms to aggressively broadcast their messages of change. While news channels, digital and print media will always be effective political tools, most parties realise that running a powerful online presence should also be at the order of the day.

It is impossible for a political leader to visit every town in the country or guarantee that their messages are conveyed in the news in the manner it was intended. Online (via a political party website and social media platforms owned by the party) gives some of this power back and allows parties to reach more people.

A website is a fantastic promotional tool for political parties wishing to share their ideals and goals with the masses. Here political parties can offer the public a library of information educating voters about what they stand for, where they believe the core issues in the country are and why they should secure your vote. A political party’s website is the core of all its online efforts but is by no means where it should stay. Social media has been on fire with the run-up to the elections with parties using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube  to communicate directly with fans (and foes).

It is no surprise that the leading parties (with more budget to their disposal) use online strategies more creatively. The ANC’s website boasts live Twitter feeds, up to the minute articles and photo galleries. My ANC’s Facebook page also boasts over 500k fans and an active social media strategy. The DA’s website does much of the same but also invites fans to get involved and to become a DA activist. The party will also be streaming its final rally live on Saturday.

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