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Parties’ new reality

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In a bid to woo young voters to register and vote for them, political parties came out in full force during the voter registration campaign at the weekend

Photo: Facebook / SABC

IF THE events that took place during the last voter registration drive are anything to go by, this year’s general elections are going to be very difficult for the ANC and opposition parties, especially the DA.

In a bid to woo young voters to register and vote for them, political parties came out in full force during the voter registration campaign at the weekend.

This included door-to-door campaign activities and visits to taxi ranks across the country.

As campaigning was in full swing, the outspoken electorate used social media to hold leaders accountable or expose service delivery failures.

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni was at the receiving end of a social media backlash when a photo of her dressing up an elderly woman in an ANC T-shirt went viral.

The elderly woman was sitting in what looked like a corrugated iron shack, and some social media users challenged the ANC to build her an RDP house, instead of handing her a T-shirt.

Others accused the party of being insensitive, saying they only remembered the poor during elections.

The party had to issue a statement to set the record straight.

Even DA leaders on the campaign trail were not spared the wrath of the electorate. Party leader Mmusi Maimane and Gauteng Premier candidate Solly Msimanga had a difficult time trying to convince voters to cast their votes for the DA.

Maimane was campaigning in Durban last week while Msimanga was in Joburg’s CBD.

The hostile reception was captured on video recordings and pictures ­published on various social media platforms.

It is clear that social media has changed the political landscape, and has given the power back to the electorate.

Political parties need to adapt if they don’t want to find themselves at the centre of a social media storm during elections.