Check-in to the 2016 Municipal Elections on Facebook
If you've grown tired of hearing about the importance of participating in the 2016 Municipal Elections, then there's not much chance you're reading this.
The only people interested in articles about voting are those who acknowledge their right to complain is fundamentally linked to their duty to vote.
Those who say nothing can be done about who governs the country, despite decades of corruption and poor management, are misled by their notion.
It's not that "nothing can be done", but rather that there are too many eligible voters who will do nothing about their situation, except complain.
There isn't an app that puts a voter symbol next the name of a person who takes to social media to complain about our country. If there was, we'd be able to identify those laggards and perhaps educate them on why they are part of the problem in this country.
Using the power of Facebook, Newsful has created an event called 2016 Municipal Elections. If you click on the event, you can state if you're "interested" or "going" and on the day (which has yet to be announced by government), you can tag yourself using this event. We're hoping that those who feel it's too inconvenient, too time consuming, too hot, too cold, too political will be encouraged by your status update and consider voting. In the meantime, if you haven't registered to vote, this is the last weekend to ensure you are eligible.
We've also uploaded a free profile picture which you can use on any of your messenger apps or social accounts. It's another way to demonstrate you fulfilling your responsibility to vote.
Not voting because it will yield no immediate help is a flawed way of thinking. Immediate help can come because there is no greater motivator for a political party than seeing the declining number of votes they received in an election. Just like the job we all work harder at once we know we might not have it anymore, so too do politicians pull up their socks when their reign is threatened.
Now, because we know our politicians are seething at was written in the third paragraph: "decades of corruption and poor management decisions", we've decided to include this little bit.
Government has done much in terms of service delivery, infrastructure development and gender and race inequality in 21 years. Still, the average employed adult doesn't get a gold star and an afternoon of praise for doing the job they were hired for. In fact, performance reviews often start with failures and being held accountable.
The good work we want to see from government are those a healthy nation expects to see. What citizens of a country don't expect are officials who steal from the State and lie about their qualifications. The complaint that nothing government does will satisfy the public isn't true and the best way to shut the mouths of detractors is to be open about the challenges faced in rising to meet public expectations.
In a recent response from the City of Johannesburg, the tributary that Angel Sibanda slipped into before drowning to death in the Jukskei River was called a "shallow earth channel". The COJ also felt "disturbed" by our line of questioning, accusing us of having a pre-determined outcome for how we wanted to report the story. This is simply false. Journalists who call on government to account for it spends its time, money and other resources aren't unpatriotic. We provide a rather necessary step in transparent democracy. Sorry, we don't always hand out gold stars for the job government is expected to do. Let's also note that when we contact offices wanting to write those good stories, it's your people who don't get back to us.
Stop beating up the media and the public with a thesaurus and spin doctoring. It does nothing to divert attention away from the answers we seek.
Admitting failure isn't a weakness, but a show of incredible strength. Perhaps after this municipal election, we'll see more politicians rise to the challenge of barefoot apologies and shedding light on the things done in the dark.
P.S: This weekend, 5th and 6th of March, is the last weekend for voter registration.