Now that all the legal challenges are a thing of the past, it is now full speed ahead towards the local government elections on November 1. The local government elections, compared to the national and provincial ones, have the greatest impact on our lives. They offer us, the ordinary citizens, a great opportunity to chart the way forward for the next five years. It offers us the chance to choose the people we want to be in charge of our lives. It offers us the chance to no longer complain bitterly over something we could not change – now we have the chance to effect change.
The fact that the elections are happening under the challenging climate of the pandemic and the various levels of the lockdown regulations, offers a unique environment for us, the voter and the political parties who want our votes. The traditional methods of campaigning like door-to-door visits, elections mass rallies and impromptu gatherings will have to be jettisoned and new ways be found. That the elections are only 38 days from now gives the parties very little time to campaign and woe us into believing they are the right choices for us. This is the beauty of these elections – we will basically go into the polls having been not greatly influenced by sleek voting campaigns and emotionally charged mass rallies where emotions can be whipped up and lead to many to vote with their hearts and not their heads. I believe this shortened period will work for some and greatly hurt the others. People will now vote based on what they already know and not what they can be told during those glitzy campaigns.
The last five years has been a very long election campaign for the governing ANC and they are about to reap the fruits of their labour of the last five years. As the incumbent in the district and all the local municipalities under it – the results during these elections would give them a good idea of how they have done in the last five years. They have to demonstrate to the electorate what they are going to do differently this time around by the choices they make when choosing their candidates list. I have not seen their list as yet but those who have seen it, I am sure, they can decipher as to whether we are in for a drastic change or things will remain more or less the same. The pandemic has levelled the playing field somewhat as the parties with bigger budgets will not have enough time and space to blitz the electorate with their sleek and high profile campaign events as in the past. We are in for a very interesting 38 days up to the polls – let us enjoy the ride and make up our minds to vote correctly.