Johannesburg, 7 May 2024 – To commemorate the seventh South African General Elections, S3 is pleased to announce the launch of The Big Debate on Thursdays at 18:00, from 9 May 2024.

This special edition of The Big Debate is South Africa’s top town hall debate, running for 15 years and the highest profile to date as it coincides with the national elections.

The Big Debate gives a platform to South Africans to talk about their experiences of 30 years of democracy, looking for solutions and accountability from our leaders. The show aims to give South Africans from every walk of life a voice in shaping our shared future. The show will give people of all cultures, ages, and identities across South Africa a chance to contribute to a national conversation from race and identity, leadership, equality and socioeconomic rights to climate change and the energy crisis.

This season of The Big Debate will be hosted by leading radio and television news anchor Thembekile Mrototo. Thembekile will drive the conversations, hosting political leaders, government ministers, social activists, and other experts.

“I’m thrilled to have been asked to host this important season of The Big Debate. As South Africa marks 30 years of democracy and we hold what could be our most important elections, this is still the best platform for dialogue to unpack and even try to find solutions to our many problems. My goal going into the season is to hold the powerful to account whilst ensuring that all voices at the table are heard.” – Thembekile Mrototo.

The TV show will be on air for thirteen weeks. Leading up to the elections the following topics will be covered:

Episode 1: Tintswalo, Democracy’s Child

Our first episode will look at the accuracy and representativity of the story of Tintswalo, as described by the President in his 2024 SONA speech, when it comes to meeting the socioeconomic rights of the marginalised majority. We will be asking what it will take to ensure that the constitutional rights to health, education, and housing are extended to millions more people beyond the Tintswalo’s who have benefited so far. In this episode and the coming ones, we have invited government ministers, social activists, and other experts to the debate. We will also be hosting young people born at the dawn of democracy and those who voted for the first time in 1994.

Episode 2: Election Debate (Part 1)

Episode two is expected to be more of a traditional election debate where the larger political parties are invited to answer questions driven mainly by our audience members. The focus will be on the manifestoes and the records of the largest political parties in South Africa.

Episode 3: Youth and Leadership

This episode focuses on the Leadership Youth Workshop, with an audience of 30 years old or under – driving the conversation, asking questions to the new kids on the block (political parties contesting national elections for the first time in 2024) and some independent candidates.

For more information and interview opportunities, contact S3 Publicity.

Don’t miss The Big Debate every Thursday at 18:00. Starting 9 May 2024, on S3, simulcast on SABC News channel 404 and SABC+.