0.2 What to expect from the Course

Dear Candidate, what to expect from the Course

"Rather than bemoan the present - dare to sing a song of hope. Rather than denigrate, inspire. paint a picture of what can be. Instead of inciting hatred and instilling fear, rise above the chorus of the age." - Jay Townsend

Welcome to your Toolkit Partner. Throughout the course material you will find

📰 Newspaper Clip

💡 Point of Interest

📷 Screenshot

🎧 Voice note of Class (to listen while driving)

Download for personal use

Welcome to the Independent Candidate Training Course (workshop).

Why develop the course? The political establishment has erected barriers to discourage good candidates from running, and competing in the marketplace of ideas. This course is designed to make politics easier to understand, make it easier for people to run, and brake down those barriers so that your voice and your ideas can be heard.

In 2024 (NPE) there are 400 National Assembly seats, and 430 provincial legislature seats up for grabs. In 2026 (LGE) there are 8,794 wards for the taking. The MAIN (and biggest) differential between you winning or losing against an entrenched political party incumbent is TIME spent preparing for election day.

If you are running as an Independent candidate, you have an disadvantage that South African voters choose (vote) for the PARTY first, and then the candidate. Thus, if you are going into an election a month before ELECTION DAY as candidate, against established political parties like the DA, EFF, ANC or FF+ - you will loose. STOP. Save your time and money. Do not enter the race. Why? You need to establish your BRAND and get it out there. Versus established political parties. Your political campaign should start MUCH EARLIER than that of your opponents representing parties as mentioned above.

You were not born believing what you regard today as fundamental truth. All of you, what you think, and believe, and say, and the way you act, is a product of your journey, what you have learned, the people you have encountered, that what you have seen, heard and experienced during your time on earth. That made you who you are.

And it is you who will be asking voters to place in you the the power to govern on their behalf.

What is entailed in the modern political campaign?

It is essential to gather a specialized and politically driven staff that helps run political campaigns in elections. In a modern political campaign, the campaign organization will have a coherent structure and staff like any other large business. Political campaign staff is the people who formulate and implement the strategy needed to win an election. Many people have made careers out of working full-time for campaigns and groups that support them. However, in other campaigns much of the staff might be unpaid volunteers.

A campaign team must consider how to communicate the message of the campaign, recruit volunteers, and raise money. Campaign advertising draws on techniques from commercial advertising and propaganda. The avenues available to political campaigns when distributing their messages is limited by the law, available resources, and the imagination of the campaigns' participants. These techniques are often combined into a formal strategy known as the campaign plan. The plan takes account of a campaign's goal, message, target audience, and resources available. The campaign will typically seek to identify supporters at the same time as getting its message across.

An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Generally, elections consist of voters casting ballots at polling places on a scheduled election day. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which representative democracies have operated since the 1910. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, the executive and judiciary, and regional and local government.

Electoral systems are the detailed constitutional arrangements and voting laws that convert the vote into a political decision. The first step in determining the results of an election is to tally the votes, for which various vote counting systems and ballot types are used. Electoral systems then determine the result of the election on the basis of the tally. Most electoral systems can be categorized as either proportional or majoritarian. In a proportional electoral system, a political party receives a percentage of seats in a governmental body in proportion to the number of votes it receives.

Candidates running for election to public office need to appeal to the electorate in order to acquire votes. Accordingly, candidates run campaigns aimed at establishing a popular campaign message and convincing voters of the candidate's likeability.

Voting is the most prominent form of political participation, and in fact, for many people, it is the primary means of participating in politics. A unique and special political act, voting allows for more people's views to be represented than any other activity. Every citizen gets one vote that counts equally. Expanded voter registration means that more and more people have been able to participate, and voter turnout trends indicate how many people exercise their right to vote as a primary means of political participation.

There are three major components (the Roadmap):

  1. The message.
  2. The means you use to disseminate the message.
  3. The preparation you should do before you begin the campaign.

Your message have five components (information voters expect you to tell them):

  1. What is your rationale? The reason people should vote for you.
  2. What is your story? What have you done or accomplish that qualifies you for the job?
  3. What are your values? Your deeply held beliefs and convictions.
  4. What is your position on important issues of our time?
  5. What makes you better than your opponent?

Five Strategic steps to victory:

  1. Commit to integrity
  2. First tell voters what you will do for them
  3. Use the secret weapon: Your Story
  4. Enlist your network
  5. Invest in Coaching

The means you use to disseminate your message can take many forms. You, as in speeches you give, the photo-ops and the press conferences you have, or the doors you knock on. Your website - social media - Internet ads, television, radio, persuasion mail, telephones, newspaper ads, volunteers that distribute your flyers. Yard signs. And the coverage you generate from the press. Research on the ward, age income and education levels, turnout percentages and patterns, race religion and ethnicity, and the major employers in your constituency. Issue-research on the topics of your ward, a preliminary budget so you will know how much money you need to raise. Fundraising plans, so that you are not left with a stack of unpaid bills after the election. A press list, so that you know the names of important reports and press outlets. Opposition research.

And then there is the preparation you should have done before you step out of your front door.

The Quick Ten (10) Checklist

  1. Consult your loved ones
  2. Get your finances in order
  3. Know the rules for getting on the ballot
  4. Update your resume
  5. Be informed. Stay informed
  6. Running for the right office. Running for the right reason
  7. Study your jurisdiction
  8. Study your opponent
  9. Check social media posts
  10. Get some help

There are many moving parts so a successful political campaign, and no one can become an expert by reading books or searching for for articles on Google. You can learn a lot by doing that, but it takes time. If you go that route it will teach you a lot of things you do not need to know.

Too many in public life today think or believe politics is the art of sticking their finger in the air, and responding only to the daily shift of political winds. When voters elect you, they are trusting you to make judgements on their behalf. they expect you to be worthy of of their trust they placed in you. You will leave them disappointed if you prove you weren't.

📷 See Screenshot 0.2.1 IEC obligations and duties

Know these rules

  1. What are the rules for getting on the ballot?
  2. Who gets to vote?
  3. When and how can voters vote?
  4. Examine partisan affiliation, vote history
  5. Get a demographic profile of your jurisdiction

Courting Influencers

Once you have inventoried the people you do know, construct a list of people you need to know, but don't. These influencers will come from five very distinct communities. Political Party Leaders. Elected officials of your party. Leaders of important interest groups. Civic and Community Leaders. Those who lead important ethnic groups.


This course 'The Independent Candidate Campaign' will provide you (or your campaign manager) with the appropriate strategies in preparing, organizing, running and winning your local elections. Simple. Straight forward and easy to understand. The kind of information voters will expect from you to give them during the course of the election. Running for local office can be one of the most demanding, yet exhilarating experiences of your life. Catherine Shaw summarizes it perfectly: "Seeking office or pushing through an issue-based campaign gives you an opportunity to be a leader, to effect change in your community, and to repay something to the city, province, or country you love. The campaign experience also offers you an opportunity to grow personally. You will be challenged and stretched as never before. When it's all over, win or lose, you will be a different person, with a different outlook on our political process and a new respect for those who run and serve."

The course will educate you as Independent Councillor about matters of finance, the political system and the laws governing it, and in the skills required to be an effective councillor.

Step one: Your rationale

  • Why do you want the job?
  • What will you do with the job, once you get it?

Step two: What is your story

  • Your most important experience and how it changed you
  • Have you ever volunteered?
  • What have you accomplished?

Step three: What are your values

  • Core convictions
  • Principles
  • Passions
  • Standards by which you made decisions

Step four: Issues

  • Policy on Illegal immigrants
  • Economic issues
  • Social issues

Step five: What makes you better than your opponent

Good candidates have the integrity to abide a set of deeply held moral principles. They are unafraid of being their own authentic selves. They speak the courage of their convictions. They have a will to win. Good candidates never stop growing. They have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. They're willing to admit they need the help of others to succeed. They're willing to learn and invest in themselves so they can - in their own unique way - fully live their passion to better their city, their community, or country.

If you are serious about running, and if you are serious about winning, the first step is perfecting your God-given talents, learning how to speak clearly, consciously - to communicate in a way that touches hearts, attracts volunteers, that moves and inspires contributors to join your cause.

Preparation prior to starting your journey

Before you begin your journey as a candidate for public office, there are some things you should do in preparation for your trip. Things you need to know at the outset of your of your journey unless you really like unpleasant surprises.

I am continually amazed at how little candidates know about the places where they are running. That is like embarking on a long journey without a clear destination or any notion of how you are going to get there. That is not very smart, and candidates who try it usually runs out of money or commit some colossal mistake that sinks their campaign. What do you need to know about the voters you are marketing yourself to?

Know your Ward jurisdiction

  • political affiliation of the electorate
  • turnout patterns by year
  • age, income, education, occupations of the electorate and major employers

Issue Research


Fundraising Plan



Polls (or benchmark survey)

This is important because it affects your appeal, your budget, your targets, and just about every other component of your campaign.

Dig down. Who are the major employers? What is the median household income? The unemployment rate? Is this a white collar, blue collar or mixed bag? What is the ratio of private versus public sector employment? What percentage of of the people are on public assistance or dependent on the government for health care, food and housing?

If you are well versed on your journey before you start - if you have studied the maps and know what you are likely to encounter on the trip, the more likely it is that you will arrive at your destination without going over budget, or get lost on a detour that throws your campaign off course.

There are plenty of horror stories of candidates who did not plan their trip. Or know what they needed to before they started the journey as a political candidate. They now reside in a very large political graveyard reserved for the ill-informed and ill-prepared.

Those there, carried to the grave, the pain of unfulfilled promise. Don't let that happen to you!

Is this course worth it? Absolutely. It is the most intensive training course in South Africa you will find for this price. You will not find this kind of training (relevant to South African politics) anywhere else. But there is ANOTHER price to pay for not having this kind of training. For without it you will make needless, costly and fatal mistakes. If that happens, it is not only you that gets hurt.

You see, at the end of your journey on the campaign trail, there will be a winner and a loser. Those who lose don't govern. No policy. Their voice falls silent. And those that they have run to help, the very people and causes that you hoped to advance will be left without you and your voice. If your campaign is worth doing, if those people you hoped to help are truly worthy of your time and energy, then the most important thing you can do at the outset is to invest in yourself so you can run a campaign worthy of your cause and those who need your voice.

The course will also include worksheets and materials for use as your campaign progress. If you will do the homework, you will get much more out of the course. You will have an even better chance of winning that campaign if you send your homework to me. Not only will I review it, but I will give you suggestions and ideas that will give you a head start on the career you hope to have.

A Campaign crash course

If you are running for office, or plan to run someday, this is an excellent time to learn from other candidates. Pick a race that interests you and look at everything the candidates are doing. Start by going to their websites. Do they have a memorable slogan? Do you get an instant and clear picture of why they are running, or what sets them apart from the field? Do they have a story that helps them explain what makes them tick, and their motivation for seeking the job?

Do they tell you what problems they want to fix, or the wrongs they want to right? Do they offer solutions? Are those solutions specific and doable? Do they make it easy to donate or volunteer? Are there easily found links to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels? Look at their TV and YouTube commercials. Are they well written? Does the footage help bring their words to life?

Do their spots make one point well? Sign up for their emails and study the ones you receive. Do they have a call to action, such as asking you for your email address, or a donation, or sharing their message with your friends. Like their Facebook page. Pay attention to the political ads you see on your Facebook newsfeed. Do they grab your attention with a provocative picture or video? Click the ads? Do they make it easy to donate, or leave your email address?

Watch their debates. Are they clear and coherent in their answers? Quick on their feet. Do they stay on message. Does it like they are well prepared and rehearsed? These are the hallmarks of a coherent campaign strategy. And a good to-do-list for any candidate who plans to run for office in the future.

💡 To contest a municipal election as an independent ward candidate, you don't need to register as a party does. You must be nominated and submit the required documents during the candidate nomination period, which is detailed in the election timetable published once an election date has been proclaimed.

What is the Republican Conference?

The Republican Conference is a municipal party (as opposed to a National political party) created as a vehicle for independents to contest municipal elections in a way that will allow them to benefit from the PR list.

Political parties in South Africa are all structured as top-down authoritarian organizations that keep strict control of their public representatives through a combination of disciplinary measures and command-and-control management mechanisms.

The leader of such a party has enormous positional power and influence, he often remains in power until he resigns and is usually attributed with great wisdom and insight which he might not actually possess, but which due to his position his underlings in the party are in no position to question.

Public representatives are treated like the employees of the party, they do as told and they apply for positions to the party and those already inside usually choose those wishing to be inside through Selection Panels and processes. Members and the public rarely have any say in the selection of candidates for election.

Elective and Policy conferences are usually overly populated by public representatives and rarely have a significant attendance by members of the party with mandates from their branches.

Members branches are subordinate organizational units of members who usually join because it is a pre-requisite to being considered as a public representative. Branches depend for their existence upon devolved authority and has no independent legal persona.

Policy is decided by leadership and passed from the top down, members rarely have any say to determine policy or in the event of elections, the electoral platform.

Truly democracy parties the world over are structured the other way round, from the bottom up, is owned and effectively controlled by its membership through authority passed upward through delegations from membership organizational units, that have their own legal persona. The roles of public representatives and organizational control over the party is strictly separated.

💡 Nomination An Independent Ward Candidate can be nominated by a person (the Nominator) who:

  • ordinarily resides in the municipality in that ward; and
  • is registered on that municipal segment of the voters' roll.

The Republican Conference is the only party in South Africa that is organized in this manner. Its Members own the party, Ward Chapters are the basic organizational unit of the party and membership in the party can only be had, and members rights and privileges can only be exercised through membership of a Ward Chapter affiliated to the party.

Ward Chapters are independent legal personas with the right to own property and can sue and defend in its own name. They run their own affairs without interference from the party, including finance and fund raising.

Each ward chapter elects its own candidates for public office and if elected those public representatives serve the ward as their first priority.

Candidates and the ward chapter formulate their platform for the ward and the city in an election together without any interference from “higher” structures of the party.

Ward Chapters hold their public representatives to account and monitor the successful implementation of the platform through a standing committee of the Chapter – the Platform Committee.

Ward Chapters have real teeth and can initiate recall procedures against a public representative who does not perform as desired without reference to the rest of the Republican Conference.

Ward Chapters send delegates to the Conference that runs the affairs of the party on the municipal level. The number of their delegates are determined by the number of votes cast in favour of the Conference in a ward in the immediately past local government general election and the organization maturity of the Ward Chapter.

The Conference too has a Platform Committee. The platform of the Conference is agreed with the mayoral candidate at the policy conference prior to a general election and its implementation is overseen by this committee. This is also where ward priorities are reconciled and negotiated into an achievable program of action to be implemented by the Conference’s public representatives.

In other words members of the Republican Conference are in full control of the agenda Conference and can actually hold public representatives to account and can remove them from office through recall procedures if they fail to perform.

There is no Great Leader, Grand Wizard or Godfather figure in the Conference who takes all wise decisions and enforces it from the top down. In the Republican Conference its members are in full control – of the agenda, the Conference and its public representatives.

Public representatives in turn report and account directly to the people who elected them and if they don’t perform those people can exercise their right to remove the public representative mid-term without reference to others in the Conference.

This is democracy and the Republican Conference is the only party in this country to subscribe to these values.

💡 Requirements The following documents must be submitted:

  • A prescribed nomination form signed by the Nominator (published before municipal elections).
  • A prescribed acceptance of nomination form (published before municipal elections) signed by the candidate which includes an undertaking to be bound by the Code of Conduct and a declaration that the candidate is not disqualified from standing in the elections in terms of the Constitution or other applicable legislation together with a copy of the first page of their ID book.
  • A copy of the page of the candidate's ID book on which the candidate's photo, name and ID number appear (no need to be certified).
  • A prescribed form (published before municipal elections) containing the names, surnames, ID Numbers and signatures of at least fifty (50) voters whose names appear on the voters' roll of any one of the voting districts of the ward the candidate is contesting.
  • The prescribed election deposit of R1,000.00 paid by means of a bank guaranteed cheque in favour of the Electoral Commission.
  • An A5 Colour photo (head and shoulders) of the independent ward candidate as first choice, but black and white will not be rejected.

📰 Newspaper Clip

By William Gumede (*This article appeared in the Daily Dispatch)

South Africa’s electoral system urgently needs to be changed to make elected representatives more accountable and responsive and to give voters more power to dismiss incompetent ones.

One of the electoral changes the country desperately needs to introduce in conjunction with a change to the electoral system is an extra box to tick on the ballot paper, which voters who are unhappy with all the parties listed on the ballot paper, can tick.

This is very important in a political system where all the political parties are irrelevant and voters feel they have no credible choices in front of them.

SA’s current electoral system, the closed-party list proportional representative (PR) electoral system, adds to the disenfranchisement of ordinary voters and citizens.

In our current parliamentary and provincial electoral system, citizens vote for the party. The party decides on the order of the names on its candidates’ list. It is therefore, the party’s preferred list.

Once parliament is elected, the Members of Parliament elect the state president – not citizens who have to accept the choice of the party leaders.

The problem is that parliamentary representatives are accountable to political parties (leaders), not necessarily voters. MPs are not directly elected by their constituencies. The party leaders allocate MPs to “constituencies” after an election, which further undermines a relationship of accountability between elected representatives and constituencies.

The constituency almost never corresponds to where an MP comes from. The local “constituency” is often not even consulted about the choice of “their” MP.

That appointee therefore, has no obligation to be accountable to his or her deployed constituency – because the constituency cannot have him or her replaced if he/she does not perform.

There is little pressure on the deployed MP to listen to his or her “constituency”; all he/she needs to do is to please the ANC leadership that appointed him/her.

In the current system in order to advance, MPs serve the party leadership, uncritically doing the bidding of the leadership which has the power to reappoint MPs. The needs of the communities are therefore, not paramount. A community in the “constituency” of a hapless MP can appeal for a better performance as much as they want, it is means little.

Party candidate lists are compiled in most cases by the party leadership, or through slate voting – ANC members vote for a slate of candidates attached to a leader. This was how Jacob Zuma was elected ANC president at the party’s national conference in Polokwane in 2007.

Once in parliament, members are rarely critical of executive or Cabinet ministers when they report to parliament, fearing that criticizing the very people with the power to decide on whether they will be on the candidate’s list for the next elections will be deadly for their careers.

The whole system breeds a culture where the leadership of the party – and not ordinary voters or members – is in control.

The current system also prevents individuals from standing as independents for parliament.

Elections since 1994 have consistently produced racialized and class-based electoral national election results – rather than diversity.

The electoral system at the local government electoral tier is different to the PR-system of the national and provincial system. At municipal level there is a mixed electoral system, whereby half the ward councilors are elected by a PR list process, and the other half directly through local representation at ward level (a constituency system).

Although local government has a mixed electoral system, party leaders still tightly control who is on the list of candidates. Astonishingly, in the 2011 local government elections, the ANC only released their mayoral candidates after the elections – with ordinary members, supporters and voters having had no say whatsoever in who “they were electing” as their city mayors.

The ANC party leadership then handpicked the mayoral candidates and presented them to their members, supporters and voters — after the elections.

Although there is a strong support in civil society for electoral system change, there is also strong political opposition to changing the electoral system.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has argued in favour of a mixed electoral system at national, provincial and local level. Cosatu proposed a 65% constituency-based, 35% proportional representation system.

Cosatu wants a referendum to test the electorate’s feeling towards a constituency-based electoral system.

In a discussion document for its 2006 conference, Cosatu said a constituency-based electoral system “will promote more dynamic contact between the people and public representatives, holds the possibility of people’s views being heard, and could introduce the element of constituents more directly determining candidates.”

The document went on to say: “The current system of proportional representation also undermines independent thought as individual careers depend on those in the party leadership and the deployment committee. Unless we can achieve it soon, the movement towards sycophancy is inevitable”.

When President Nelson Mandela left office in 1999, he called for a review of the electoral system. President Thabo Mbeki in 2002, established a task team, led by the late Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, to formulate parameters for a new electoral system. Their brief included deciding on whether floor-crossing should be allowed.

The task team released its final report in January 2003, and members were split 8-4 on the final recommendation. However, the majority called for an alternative electoral system which combined constituency and proportional representation models – a mixed system, not unlike that of Germany which has a mixed-member proportional system where voters can choose between political parties and individual candidates.

The Van Zyl Slabbert committee proposed a new, more constituency-based electoral system along similar lines: it should be based to some extent on the current system, but with multi-member constituencies together electing 300 members of the National Assembly and with a compensatory closed national list providing for 100 members.

The minority ANC-aligned members of the task team opposed the constituency-based proposals – following instructions from the ANC national leadership. They recommended the electoral system remain the same.

In 2003, Cabinet decided to reject Van Zyl Slabbert’s proposals and retain the current 400-member National Assembly and proportional representation electoral system.

The main reason why the current electoral system was adopted in 1994 was to include as many parties as possible into parliament. Some minority parties only secured seats because of the proportional representation system.

Even the Van Zyl Slabbert-led electoral task team found that the current electoral system is high on party fairness and party inclusiveness. It is also simple to implement. However, although the this system has boosted party representation and given room for a large representation of small parties, it has not brought about accountability.

The task team strongly questioned the system in terms of accountability in relation to voters. Many of the small parties are not very relevant to the ordinary voter, neither are they very accountable or responsive. A more constituency-based system would exclude such parties – but bring more accountability into the political system.

Clearly, SA urgently needs to make its electoral system more accountable and responsive to ordinary voters, rather than a plethora of small parties. A new electoral system must bring a direct link – accessibility – between voters and their representatives, must remain representative and must retain overall proportionality.

The current system causes alienation of voters from elected representatives, Parliament and the democratic system itself.

Finally, electoral reform cannot be implemented without broader institutional reform to make democratic institutions more accountable and responsive; and political parties must also become more accountable to their members and voters.

Download PDF 0.2.2 Electoral Amendment Bill (also see usb)

Electoral Amendment Bill.pdf

To get you in the mood, I suggest watching the following (serious) and some not so serious movies about political campaigns and see if this is what you signed up for:

  1. Our Brand is Crisis
  2. The Campaign √
  3. The Ides of March √
  4. The American President
  5. The Adjustment
  6. Wag the Dog
  7. Irresistible √

View them on the following link:


Every candidate faces moments of truth in a political campaign. Politics will test notions of right and wrong, good and evil, the very foundations of your moral code. You will be asked, or tempted to compromise it, stretch it, bend it, perhaps even brake it.

There are plenty of candidates who do that every day. They are those who lie knowing the truth, repeat falsehoods they know to be a hoax, contend to poison our discourse and feast off the carcass. Those to sell their sole to win an office will lose their sole to keep it.

Download PDF 0.2.3 Annual Marketing Campaign Calendar (also see usb)

Complete and Continue