Help strengthen democracy

Thando Ngqobo, Kuyasa

As we head towards the local government elections, all communities in the country are engulfed by differences of opinions concerning who to vote for.

Political parties are in full swing, mobilising members of the public to vote for them, urging them to elect their chosen candidates.

These are interesting times because the power is in the hands of residents, and it is they who will decide which political official occupies a particular office. The nice thing about democracy is that there comes a time when those who want to get to the top, need to be approved by those at the bottom.

On this note, I think local media houses should see an opportunity to make their mark and grow their audience.

As a media specialist, I advise local media companies to arrange community talk shows in various wards, comprising members of the public and ward councillor candidates, where there can be an engagement focused on the debating of various political issues, asking of questions, making of promises and others that will make the public see who their potential ward councillors are.

This would also give candidates an opportunity to tell the public what they are going to deliver should they be elected, while, at the same time, allowing the public to tell them what they want from them.

At the moment, ward councillor candidates, with the exception of independent ones, are promising people services in line with their political party manifestos, and this is not entirely how things should be done. Different communities have different needs and challenges, so a blanket approach to service delivery is not ideal at this level.

May all community media houses heed this call and help strengthen democracy by creating a platform for the public to freely air their views, ask tough questions and make demands, thus contributing to proper governance. Democracy advocates for a society that allows people to have a say on matters that affect them.

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