SA political parties turn to online campaigning

With 45 days to go before the national elections, political parties have intensified their campaigning.

On Saturday, the Democratic Alliance launched its online advert which featured the party’s spokesman Mmusi Maimane in President Jacob Zuma’s home village, Nkandla.

The advert, which is slightly longer than a minute, focused on the damning findings of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who this week announced that Zuma and his family had improperly benefited from R215 million security upgrades to his private residence in KwaZulu-Natal.

With Zuma’s homestead seen behind him on the mountains of Nkandla, Maimane says: “How could they allow millions to be spent on one man while so many are suffering?”

“What has happened to the ANC? The ANC has changed.

“It is no longer a party of Mandela, Tambo, Sisulu and Mbeki,” he said, referring to previous leaders of the ruling party.

“It is a party where we see corruption everywhere.”

He continues on to say that corruption has stalled the progress of the country.

“So on the 7th of May, Vote DA, Vote for change,” said Maimane.

Earlier this month, the African National Congress launched its own online advert where it highlighted the country’s growth and progress in the last 20 years of democracy.

The more vibrant advert showed South African children at school, clusters of RDP houses, the construction of different infrastructures, the ferrying of people on various transport systems, people at work, others receiving medical attention and farming lands.

“So they say this country is going backwards… Everyday we hear one negative story or the other. They are always talking but they never talk about how we have moved forward,” the ANC said in the advert.

In the advert, the party stated that while it recently gave birth to democracy, it continued to progress in building the country.

“While they were talking, we built a nation we can all live in with freedom and equality.”

It continues to say that it has plans to further develop the country in the next five years.

The one-minute ad which ends of with “Vote ANC… A better life for all,” had almost 700 views.

Adding to the online adverts, the DA has also turned to SMS campaigning.

The party has sent cellphone text messages to prospective voters, telling them of how Zuma “stole” the money which was used to build Nkandla.

The SMS read: “The Nkandla report shows how Zuma stole your money to build his R246m home. Vote DA on 7 May to beat corruption. Together for change.”

The ANC on Friday said it was planning to take legal action against the DA over the text message.

“We are actively taking this matter up by opening a charge of defamation and malicious conduct,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.

“We will also be approaching relevant recourse structures that deal with elections including the IEC and the electoral court if necessary to ensure that this irresponsible conduct is curtailed and exposed.”

Mthembu said the SMS was based on a “deliberate lie” and targeted Zuma.

The DA, whose campaigning has largely been centred around pointing out the shortfalls of the current government has also erected large billboards around Gauteng.

One of its billboard along the N1 highway reads: “Loadshedding proudly brought to you by the ANC.”

The billboard referred to power outages that were experienced around the province as power supplier, Eskom claimed that wet coal hampered its efforts to meet electricity demand.

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SA political parties turn to online campaigning