An evaluation of COPE's communication strategy for the 2011 municipal elections campaign in the Northern Cape
The article is guided by the following research question: What factors found expression, and influenced the extent to which COPE’s 2011 municipal elections campaign in the Northern Cape met the objectives set in the developed communication strategy? Following the framework of systems theory, the developed communication strategy included an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing COPE prior to the election, as well as recommendations for the messages the campaign would use to persuade voters; the techniques it would use to reach them; and a targeting strategy that aimed to identify the priority localities where campaign resources should be focused in order to reach the required number of votes to achieve the campaign’s objectives and goals. The success of the communication strategy was then evaluated post-election by explaining to what extent the campaign was able to meet the objectives and goals set for it. The main factors influencing COPE’s election outcome were found to be non-adherence to targeting strategy; lack of national media coverage; poor distribution of campaign resources; state resources and patronage; insufficient visibility in targeted areas; COPE’s poor campaign organisation; the Mompati defection; and insufficient training.