I continue to have massive respect and admiration for former President Abraham Lincoln for having built a strong democratic system that is purely based on the people, for the people and by the people in the United States of America(USA).
The US continues to be one of the leading and progressive democracy in the world, because its citizens continue to play an instrumental role in who they get to elect as their President. Most importantly, they get to hear what their presidential candidates have to offer during live
With less than a few hours before the country’s sixth democratic elections. South African citizens were yet again denied an opportunity to see three major presidential hopefuls, Cyril Ramaphosa of the African National Congress, Economic Freedom Fighters’ Julius Malema and Democratic Alliance’s Mmusi Maimane battle it out on a public platform about their respective policies.
Instead South Africans were bombarded with elections posters, billboards in all the streets, radio and television advertisements on daily basis as this has been the norm in the previous elections.
Politicians and their political parties need to start taking voters seriously and that means they need to provide them with more options than they have been doing in the last 25 years of our democracy.
While the billboards and posters are well written and with catchy slogans such as ‘ Let’s grow South Africa’ of the ANC, ‘Our Land and Jobs Now’ of the EFF and DA’s ‘One South Africa for all’. We need to see the voices behind these catchy slogans in 2025 and that means we need to see politicians selling their ideas on a public platform with their opponents, speaking for themselves to the citizens.
Our democracy is growing and so should politicians and their political parties’ election strategies change. One can only assume that the current sitting US President Donald Trump won the presidential elections purely on the basis that he was able to sell himself to the public and also able to discredit his opponent’s policies during those live television and public presidential debate.
South Africa should learn from the US in this regard, as citizens are able to vote having a clear idea of who they are voting for. The era of billboards and placards should fade now. We need politicians to sell their ideas directly to people on a public platform and the SABC as a public broadcaster should provide them with that platform.