Project Description


Dr Sithembile Mbete

Sithembile is a lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria where she lectures in international relations and South African politics. She has a DPhil in International Relations. Her doctoral research involved an analysis of South Africa’s two elected terms in the United Nations Security Council. She has published on the Economic Freedom Fighters and on South African elections in accredited journals. Her research has been funded by the National Institute for Humanities and Social Science, the National Research Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Mellon Foundation. In 2014, she was a visiting scholar at the Department of Political Science and Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo. She comments frequently in the media on a range of issues in South African politics.

I Vote Next


This project argues that informing voters about the electoral system can combat voter apathy and increase turnout in the 2019 elections. A decade of corruption scandals, governance failures and lack of political accountability has increased voter dissatisfaction with South Africa’s democracy. Voter turnout has declined steadily since 1999. Electoral system reform that improves the accountability of politicians is critical to consolidating democracy and constitutionalism. However until that is achieved, what can be done to convince South Africans that their vote can make a real difference to the outcome of the 2019 election?

The project will have both mainstream and academic work products. In order to answer this question, the project will be undertake a series of engagements with voters between the ages of 18 and 39 to canvass their views on the electoral system and voting. This will be done in the form of recorded focus groups in Gauteng, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.


  • A series of podcasts on the electoral system and the importance of voting to be recorded with Kaya FM. These podcasts will be accessible on the station website. We will distribute them to community radio stations and the SABC by Creative Commons.
  • Four videos social media videos by popular media personalities like Maps Maponyane and Nomzamo Mbatha to encourage people to vote.


  • A journal article to be published after the project on the findings and the contribution to the debate on electoral system reform in South Africa. A summary of this article will be published on The Conversation Africa for circulation within mainstream media.

Social Media:

  • As part of the social media outputs,  Obakeng Leseyane has been recruited and has started an online platform called @ivotenext to encourage young people to register and turnout to vote in the 2019 elections.