This year’s Municipal elections have seen each of the three leading political parties, the ANC, DA and EFF releasing well produced television commercials which bring the parties elections strategies close to home for their audiences.
Commercials of this nature come with a high production cost, and an even higher cost to have them aired on national television. Despite the cost, they are an effective way for parties to sell their ideals by grabbing people’s emotions with stories about people who are effected by their politics.
All three parties have said they have spent more than ever before on municipal elections advertising, which includes television commercials, billboards, street pole advertisements and extensive on the ground campaigning.
The ANC (African National Congress)
The ANC campaign kicked off with a series of television commercials with the hashtag #PeoplesVoices. The advertisements focus on telling how individual’s lives have been positively impacted by ANC’s delivery of water and electricity to communities who previously had none.
“We used to walk many kilometers to the river, but today you just come into your house, go to your sink, turn the tap, water comes!” laughs an elderly lady in traditional clothing from a rural area in Port St. Johns.
The ANC adverts are the only ones of the party television adverts to use statistics, stating that “11.8 million people South Africans now have access to water, and more than 86% have access to electricity”. Ironically, it is the very service delivery which the ANC video boasts of, which the election parties’ videos use as proof of the ANC’s failure.
Interestingly, the ANC adverts are not available on Youtube.
The EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters)
2016 is the first municipal elections for the EFF, and with no track record to back up their self-described socialist ideology their commercial focuses on criticising poverty under ANC rule and positioning the EFF as the country’s “last hope” to solve it.
“The Red Ants demolished my shack, and took the roof off my children’s heads. I don’t know where my hope will come from” says a woman in a smoke-filled township scene as images of the Red Ants, an evictions company used by municipalities, flick across the screen.
The commercial, which has 11 000 view on YouTube, features the stories of individuals affected by poverty which detail the negative effects of tenderpreneurs, bribery, prostitution, the Red Ants and even congestion at burial sites. The advert appeals to voters to vote for “quality jobs, support of small businesses, no corruption and restoration of land” and concludes that the EFF is the “last hope for jobs and service delivery”.
The DA (Democratic alliance)
The DA’s came under criticism for their television commercial which used the voice of Nelson Mandela saying, “Let there be work, let there be bread for all”.
The commercial, which has 177 000 views on YouTube, was criticised for openly showing ANC branding in the journey which the lead character takes to the polls to vote for the DA. Like many other DA campaigns this ad takes stab at ANC service delivery, and promises that the DA will do better.
Both the Mandela family and the ANC expressed dissatisfaction with the use of the former president’s voice. However, the DA continued with the controversial campaign when its leader Mmusi Maimane revealed election posters near the Pretoria Union buildings last week which read, “Honour Madiba’s dream, vote DA”.