Media Monitoring Africa 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.

Top elections stories for Friday, 6 March are:

1.  Various by-elections
A series of by-elections in the Western Cape and KZN, were widely covered. There were differing reports as to their significance with some commentators saying that they were no real indicators of the voting trends while others, were saying they highlighted the ANC’s dominance.  Clear context, as well as arguments for and against their significance or indicative value for the coming elections, would have left readers better informed and able to make up their own minds.
• Beeld, p. 16.
• Daily Sun, p. 4;
• Sowetan, p. 6;
• The Ctiizen, p. 4; and,
• The Times, p. 4.

2. ANC policies on education and Jacob Zuma’s comments.
The ANC featured prominently in most other election coverage monitored (in addition to the by-elections stories) the ANC received prominent coverage regarding its proposal to split education into two departments, one on schooling and the other on further education, as well as analytical pieces on the relationship between COSATU and the ANC, and opinion pieces by Jacob Zuma.  The majority of this coverage, atypically, focused on issues and policies.
• Beeld, p. 6;
• Daily Sun, p. 2;
• Sowetan, p. 11, 16;
• The Citizen, p.6, 12;
• The Star, p. 6, 17; and,
• The Times, p. 4.

Schabir Shaik’s parole continued to receive coverage in Fridays papers in editorials and articles about the DA seeking to have the information made public, (Star, p.16; Beeld, p.4; and The Citizen, p.3)

Two other issues while only receiving relatively low coverage are worth noting.  The first was a story in the Sowetan focused on teachers leaving school to attend a South African Democratic Teachers Union meeting to, “discuss ANC elections plans” (Sowetan, p.7). The second was an item in The Times, (p. 5) about a report released by Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (RAPCAN) in the Western Cape that revealed that the South African Police have failed rape and domestic violence victims.  Both of these stories address key issues: education, gender and child abuse. To its credit the story in the Sowetan drew attention to the fact that education was an election issue.  Sadly the rest of the item focused on SADTU’s decision to evict COPE members rather than offering deeper analysis of the implications of the teachers decision to attend the union meeting during school hours and then seeking political parties views, solutions and policies on the issue.  It is clearly a missed opportunity that the report from RAPCAN was not used as a means of interrogating political parties on their views on gender based violence and child abuse.  Gender based violence is a problem that affects the majority of South Africans in some way.  This dearth of political comment on these events is even more unfortunate coming, as it did, on the weekend of International Women’s day.
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.

The following media are reviewed in the compilation of this report: Beeld, Daily Sun, e-tv primetime news, SABC 3 primetime news, Sowetan, The Citizen, The Star, and The Times.