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702’s election coverage: Engaging communities and leading the dialogue

In a remarkable display of journalistic excellence, 702, South Africa’s biggest talk radio station, offered unparalleled coverage of the 2024 South African elections on 29 May. Through an innovative blend of community engagement, incisive interviews, and real-time reporting, 702, in collaboration with Eyewitness News (EWN), has once again affirmed its role as the vanguard of democratic discourse.
702’s election coverage: Engaging communities and leading the dialogue

A voice for the community: Election town halls
In the lead-up to the national elections, 702 hosted a series of election town halls in Ga-Rankuwa, Katlehong and Soweto, broadcasted on The Clement Manyathela Show. These town halls, held in March, April and May, were pivotal in bringing political discourse directly to the people. Community representatives articulated their concerns, which included responses from party leaders and elected officials such the premier, mayors and MECs. These dialogues not only highlighted local issues but also fostered a transparent exchange between the electorate and their leaders.

Presidential insight: An exclusive Interview
702 further demonstrated its journalistic prowess by hosting the president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, at Primedia on 20 May 2024. Interviewed by Clement Manyathela alongside EWN’s Tshidi Madia, President Ramaphosa addressed critical topics including the Zuma Constitutional Court ruling, the persistent issue of load-shedding, and reflections on his first term. In a defining moment, he confidently asserted, “I will be voted back into power, and I will serve my full term, and ‘serve’ is the operative word; serve the people of South Africa.” This candid exchange provided listeners with a rare glimpse into the president’s vision and commitments.

Election day: Live and unfiltered
On election day, 702’s commitment to comprehensive coverage was on full display. Broadcasting live from South Africa’s largest polling station at Joubert Park, Clement Manyathela’s morning show began at 9am. Despite initial polling station delays due to technical glitches, Clement’s on-air intervention prompted swift action from the IEC, ensuring a smooth voting process. Mandy Wiener continued live coverage, showcasing 702’s unwavering commitment to delivering timely and accurate election updates.

From polls to results: Broadcasting from the heart of the IEC
In the immediate aftermath of the elections, 702 shifted its focus to the IEC’s Results Operations Centre (ROC). Over the following two days, the station broadcasted extensively from the ROC, featuring interviews with political leaders and representatives from various parties. Anchors Bongani Bingwa, Clement Manyathela, Mandy Wiener, Relebogile Mabotja, John Perlman, and Aubrey Masango provided expert analysis and facilitated discussions that helped listeners make sense of the unfolding results.

The grand finale: A special election result show
Culminating its exceptional election coverage, 702 aired a special result show on Sunday, 2 June, from 5pm to 8pm during which the IEC's election announcement was relayed.. Anchored by Bongani Bingwa, Clement Manyathela, Mandy Wiener, and John Perlman, the programme offered live updates from the ROC floor, interspersed with interviews with political leaders from the various parties. This broadcast not only delivered the results but also provided critical insights into the implications of the election outcomes.

Looking ahead: Charting the course for South Africa’s Future
As the electoral dust settles, the focus now shifts to the formation of a new government. Key dates include the publication of the official lists on 5 June, the inauguration of the president, and the induction of new parliamentary members from 2-5 July. Throughout this pivotal period, 702 remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering incisive coverage and analysis, guiding the public through the complexities of South Africa’s political landscape.

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