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Cosatu: Statement by Patrick Craven, Congress of South African Trade Unions spokesperson, accusing the media of election bias coverage (31/05/2011)

31st May 2011


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The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns the biased coverage of the local government elections in most of the South African print media.

The common thread that runs through the post election reporting and analysis is that:
(i) the DA has made inroads into the ANC’s “black vote”


(ii) the increase of the DA’s share of the black vote means that South Africans are becoming more mature in terms of their voting patterns and choosing to vote the DA out of rationality

This by implication means that black, particularly African, voters have begun to see beyond skin pigmentation and national liberation symbolism and are now voting for a party that will deliver “better” services to them.
The faults in this type of analysis are many. Firstly, it grossly exaggerates the ANC’s electoral decline in these elections. By just reading the newspaper headlines, one would be convinced that the ANC lost the recent local government elections. The truth is that whilst the ANC’s support has slightly declined from 2006, the ANC has managed to win most municipalities with a decisive vote
Secondly, this narrative has some racist undertones. Africans are only mature if they vote for the DA as opposed to the ANC. This analysis reduces African support for the ANC to mere sentiment, without acknowledging that the ANC government continues to improve the lives of our people in significant ways. This portrayal of African people as nostalgic beings who merely give their votes to the ANC for the sake of history is racism of the worst order.
The same analysis does not scorn racial minorities for withdrawing their support from the ANC. There are many ANC controlled municipalities, which do well on service delivery, yet even in such cases, one finds that the ANC is still not guaranteed the minority votes.
The media continues to perpetuate the view that the only viable non-racialism is one that is as far away from the national liberation movement as possible. Thus the dream of non-racialism is closer when Africans vote for the DA.
The non-racial myth purported by the DA is a lie and the media has thus far failed to expose this. Non-racialism premised on the economic subjugation, landlessness and the exploitation of the African majority on the one hand and a white minority which enjoys the wealth and all the fruits of this democracy on the other hand is a veneer that the media needs to expose.



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