Do mayors keep their promises? We’re making it easier to find out

Liesl Pretorius
Code For Africa
Published in
2 min readNov 3, 2017


During campaign season political promises are about as common as hadedas on the West Rand.

Despite their prevalence, keeping track of those promises after a local government election is surprisingly tricky.

Mainstream media coverage is centred on metros. And good municipal websites with a decent collection of documents are in short supply.

For this reason, Track My Mayor* has partnered with Daily Sun to source and track mayors’ promises with the help of community leaders in rural areas.

After the first call to action, we heard from readers in municipalities where water is “scarce like gold” and a place where “we were promised toilets and received only seats”. Based on the response, we’ve identified four municipalities in which we’ll track service delivery promises in collaboration with Daily Sun.

These promises will be verified and added to our database of mayoral promises.

This database is the heart of our project. It will be a resource for journalists, NGOs and citizens to do promise tracking of their own.

In partnership with The Herald, The Star and HuffPost SA we’re also tracking a sample of housing and sanitation delivery promises in metros during November.

Together with City Press, we’re looking at water delivery promises in a district municipality.

If you would like to receive updates about our project, let us know.

Track My Mayor is funded by Code for Africa’s impactAFRICA programme. Code for Africa (CfA) is the continent’s largest federation of data journalism and civic technology laboratories, with labs in four countries and affiliates in a further six countries. CfA manages the $1m/year and $500,000/year, as well as key digital democracy resources such as the data portal and the election toolkit. CfA’s labs also incubate a series of trendsetting initiatives, including the PesaCheck fact-checking initiative in East Africa, the continental africanDRONEnetwork, and the African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting(ANCIR) that spearheaded Panama Papers probes across the continent.CfA is an initiative of the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).