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.

Elections items were dominated by the Zuma NPA decision, and ANC or ANC and government aligned stories. Top elections stories for Tuesday 31 March:

1. The NPA decision over whether to proceed with charges against Jacob Zuma continued to garner prominent coverage, with some analysis on the issue. Television coverage said that the decision was deferred until Friday.

• Business Day, p. 1, 13;
• Daily Sun, p.5;
• E-tv, item 1;
• SABC 3, item 2;
• Sowetan, p. 4, and 7;
• The Citizen, p. 3, p. 4, and 12 (editorial and cartoon);
• The Star, p. 1, and 10 (comment and cartoon); and,
• The Times, p. 1, 7, and 18 (editorial).

Editorials and comments expressed concern over the secrecy over the Zuma/NPA talks, asked about the interests of South Africans or raised doubts beyond the NPA case about unsolved murders when Zuma was head of Umkhonto we Sizwe’s intelligence wing.  Common to much analysis has been the emphasis on the need for transparency in whatever decision is made.  This was highlighted in Business Day (p.9)

2. A distant second election story, in terms of prominence, is statements by the Election Monitoring Network on the employment of ANC supporters in the IEC, political party conflicts, and the abuse of state social relief.

• Business Day, p. 3;
• Sowetan, p. 4; and,
• The Star, p. 6.

Business Day examined the poor and unemployed in two pieces on p. 5.  The one is a report from a, Studies in Poverty and Inequality conference which examined the manifestos of parties in terms of whether they really addressed poverty.  The Independent Democrats manifesto rated high in this regard.  An adjacent story interviewed some jobless people who said that they would be begging on Election Day and didn’t see much hope of becoming employed.

For more information please contact Sandra Roberts on 084 9000 344 or 011 788 1278 or William Bird on 082 887 1370.

The Daily Reports are made possible by the Open Society Foundation.

Media Monitoring Africa is acting as impartial observer of the SABC’s elections coverage.

The following media are reviewed in the compilation of this report: Beeld, Daily Sun, Sowetan, The Citizen, and The Star and The Times.