A new study by Google has shown that South Africans are taking an active interest in their political future, including how the country is governed – something a political analyst said was a good sign that democratic participation was deepening.
According to search trends data collated by Google, South Africans actively search for various topics directly linked to the polls.
“The questions trending show South Africans want to be more involved in effecting change at a local government, as well as a legislative level,” Google has found.
The top issues included the requirements of participating in local government elections, how citizens can contribute towards the law-making process and what the ANC election manifesto is.
Voters were also discussing who would win the elections, how many parties registered and how a minority party would impact the lawmaking process. They were also concerned there were no ANC election posters in the streets.
The party has, however, since put up posters of President Cyril Ramaphosa countrywide.
The ANC topped the searches for political parties, followed by EFF and the DA, with the Good party of Patricia de Lille at the bottom in 10th position.
Julius Malema leads all other party leaders when it came to searches, followed by Ramaphosa (ANC), Mmusi Maimane (DA), Mosiuoa Lekota (Cope) and Mangosuthu Buthelezi (IFP). Next was Zanele Magwaza-Msibi of NFP while the new kid on the political block, Hlaudi Motsoeneng was number seven, above De Lille (Good), Bantu Holomisa (UDM) and Gayton McKenzie (Patriotic Alliance).
Political analyst Sanusha Naidu said the Google findings were an indicator of strengthening participation in democracy.
It was also a sign of the need for political education. That Malema had become more popular than Ramaphosa showed that he had gained traction among South Africans.
The move towards personalities in the SA politics rather than parties, showed they were becoming more important in the eyes of the voters, she said.