Mgitywa: Independent and new parties contesting polls signal political reform

Johannesburg – The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has registered over 30 new political parties, and the number of independent candidates has almost doubled, with over 1,700 of them taking part in the upcoming polls in three weeks.

According to political commentator, Makhosini Mgitywa, the increase int eh number of independents and non-traditional political parties contesting in this year’s local government elections was a sign of electoral reform.

At the centre of the messaging to attract voters was the call for communities in failing municipalities to take back their power.

With the disappointment of poor service delivery hanging in the air, many communities in South Africa are looking outside of mainstream political parties for reprieve.

One such organisation is Save Madibeng Civic Movement in the North West. Its name paints a clear picture of the state of the Madibeng local municipality, which was one of 29 under administration in the country.

“I think civic movements are the future, but only those that are not aligned with political parties,” convener Sydney Monnakgotla said.

Mgitywa agreed, adding that the current trend boded well for communities.

“So, when voters elect people that they know that are community-based, it can only be a good thing.”

He said communities should have more influence in all tiers of government, and these local government elections are where it should begin.

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