It is election day in South Africa and the ANC could be facing their sternest challenge since coming to power after Apartheid fell. Opinion polls suggest that president Zuma’s ANC party is facing potential defeats in urban centres Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth, with the parties popularity being dented by non-existent growth and high unemployment. This could be the most important vote South Africa has seen since Mandela’s first victory in 1994. This election also sees tech playing a big role, with the Electoral Commission of South Africa and Accenture launching a mobile app to provide the voters with electoral information leading up to the election.
Through the app voters can view registration details and status, check where their nearest voting station is and navigate to it, apply for special votes and follow the vote live with notifications of results. The app can be downloaded at the Google Play Store or the App store.
The mobile application responds to the growing hunger for information over the internet. With access to mobile phones at more than 40%, more and more South Africans have access to the internet, the latest General Household Survey suggests. The increased access to the internet, as well as this new application will hopefully promote transparency, as more and more people follow every inch of election news. It will keep people engaged as people with access share information with those who do not have the fortune to have a mobile phone.
Other African countries could also benefit from such a scheme. Elections are often run under an atmosphere of suspicion, with leaders sometimes accusing each other of vote rigging before any voting has taken place. (It seems it is no different in the USA at the moment, with Donald Trump doing suggesting this!) But, with a wider spread of info and specific apps to keep the general public up to date on election affairs, it can only help the election process remain fair and transparent.
More information about the election can be found here.
To read more about the uses of mobile phones in African check out this.