Friday, April 8, 2011

South Africa - Local election campaign strategies

It's that time of the year again and the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the African National Congress (ANC) are at loggerheads once more. What is interesting though is that there is a dramatic about-turn in campaign strategies between these two parties.

In 2009, the DA was determined to communicate that a vote for them would be one more vote against getting Zuma in power. There was absolutely nothing of substance in their campaign about how they were going to improve the lot of anybody. It was fear-mongering and nothing more than that. Their tack this year has changed significantly. There is talk about delivery and asking the public to give them a chance to prove their mettle - that is positive, and exactly what South Africa needs. More talk and perhaps even some credible promises will help build a credible opposition to the ANC.

The ANC strategy, on the other hand has been to put up huge billboards with Jacob Zuma's smiling face all over the countryside. They show pictures of him with towns folk - a man of the people. Julius Malema, as usual is their hardcore campaigner that drives the message of what people (and usually not businesses) want to hear home. It appears that the ANC is pushing the fear message this year - quite ridiculously so at that. Malema's statement at a town hall campaign meeting in Port Elizabeth warned residents of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality that should they vote for the DA, they are risking Madiba's health getting even worse because of the additional strain (caused by a DA victory there).

The whole situation is quite a bizarre role reversal from 2009. If you haven't already, be sure to check out Wonkie's latest ANC vs DA local elections cartoon capturing the point exactly.

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