Accountability journalism: Track My Mayor
Help us track 150+ mayoral promises
Do mayors keep their word? In the run-up to this year’s local government election, tracking politicians’ promises is an important way to hold them accountable. Journalist Liesl Pretorius explains how Track My Mayor can help you do that.
What is Track My Mayor?
Track My Mayor helps journalists keep track of what mayors have promised and when promises are due.
The database contains more than 150 promises made by the mayors of the six metros with the largest populations. These are Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane.
How does it work?
You can use Track My Mayor in several ways. Here are three examples:
- If you’re looking for story ideas:
Click here to browse the database.
Tip: To see more promises, click on the “Next” button at the top of the page.
- If you want to see corruption-related promises:
Go to the database. Click on the triangle next to “Category” to see the drop-down list and select “Corruption”.
- If you’re interested in promises made by Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina:
Go to the database. Click on the triangle next to “Mayor” to see the drop-down list and select “Mzwandile Masina”.
Watch this video for a step-by-step guide: https://youtu.be/HLvWQ0KYAm8
Why are there more promises in the database for some mayors?
Some mayors have been in office longer than others. Of the metros we are tracking, only Ekurhuleni’s Masina has been in office since the start of the current term.
Some mayors make fewer promises. For example, former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille was at the lower end of the scale.
Also keep in mind that we focus on trackable promises. If a promise is too broad or vague, we don’t include it, for example: “We will promote the preservation of water usage and continue to invest in water infrastructure.”
Why are so many promises untracked?
That’s where you come in. Track My Mayor will track a selection of promises in the run-up to the local government election, but the database is there to help newsrooms do their own tracking.
I don’t know how to do promise tracking. Where do I start?
- Select a promise and list the evidence/data you would need to measure if the mayor has kept their promise.
- Don’t start with an outcome in mind. Let the evidence guide you.
- Ask the mayor’s office for input, but don’t solely rely on what it provides. Do your own research and verification.
- Interview experts to help you understand the context.
Here are ways to get in touch with us:
Email [email protected] if your newsroom would like to partner with us or if you have questions or suggestions.
Did we miss a promise? Suggest one here: https://forms.gle/BPJqV6PF6erwAsVh9
Follow us on Twitter: @TrackMyMayor
Track My Mayor is a project of Answerable. Answerable uses accountability journalism to help fill the gaps caused by the decline of beats in stretched newsrooms.