Media: If you don’t vote, you can complain

15 03 2009

Open letter to South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
Rosa Blaauw and Jared Sacks (2009-03-11)
Source: Pambazuka News

Re: Misinformation on IEC TV ads for voter registration including the ad ‘if you don’t vote, you can’t complain’

Dear Chairperson Dr Brigalia Bam,

A recent television ad for the campaign for voter registration by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has a line which implies that non-voting South African citizens have no power to bring about change in this country. ‘If you don’t vote, you can’t complain’ shows the short-sightedness and arrogance of the current political system, which attempts to convince South Africans that voting is the most effective and only way to bring about change in this country.

We are not stating that democracy cannot help a country if democracy is defined as the people taking control over the political system. But these ads seek manipulate people. They offend our rights as citizens and undermine the constitution which enshrines our right to choose our political convictions as well as our right to protest. If the most effective way to measure democracy in a country is the way those in power treat dissent, then South Africa continues to fail as it uses both violent and manipulative means to keep people quiet. Read the rest of this entry »


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