Election coverage for Monday 20 April 2009 was dominated by items on the final weekend election rallies of the various political parties, predominantly the main parties.  The ANC rally this weekend got most of the coverage. The Daily Sun also encouraged its readers to vote and then provided a cartoon strip that explained the voting process.

The ANC Siyanqoba rally featured most prominently in the day’s coverage. Hheld in Johannesburg and featuring a surprise appearance of Nelson Mandela, the rally was broadcast to other venues across the country:

• Business Day, p. 3 (two stories)
• Daily Sun, p. 1, 3;
• The Citizen, p. 1, 3;
• The Times, p. 1, 4 (two stories), 18,
• The Star, p. 1 (two stories), p. 5 (two stories); and,
• Sowetan, p. 1, 4 (five stories).

There was also coverage of the DA’s rallies in Mitchell’s Plain and Mpumalanga, Cope’s rally in Polokwane, the IFP rally in KwaZulu Natal, as well as the ID rally in Cape Town.

Television news (both SABC3 and etv) included footage of the special consideration votes made on the day and the IEC confirming that they were indeed ready for the election.  This was in the wake of a box of ballot papers, validity yet unknown, having been discovered on the side of the road in Middleburg.

The Daily Sun published a cartoon, spread over 4 pages about how to vote (p. 13, 14, 23 and 24).  It explained the process and encouraged people to vote.  The editorial also encouraged people to vote (p. 8).  Together, these two items could have a positive impact on voter turn-out as the Daily Sun is the daily newspaper with the largest readership.  This was clearly a positive initiative by the Daily Sun.
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Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has monitored every democratic election in South Africa. This year we are doing the same, providing daily and weekly reports on media coverage of election news, as well as MMA’s Election Media Ratings

The following media are reviewed in the compilation of this report: Business Day, Daily Sun, etv primetime news; SABC 3 primetime news; Sowetan, The Citizen, and The Star and The Times.