NKANDLA VOTES: Nkandla resident James Dlalala voted ANC at the Jan Hofmeyer community centre today. Photo: Luke Matthews
James Dlalala is from the town of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal and today he cast his vote in Johannesburg as part of the national general elections.
Voting almost 500 kilometres away from the town that is the talk of the election period this year, Dlalala admits he was not persuaded to vote for any other party but the African National Congress (ANC) despite the negative publicity around Nkandla.
“We didn’t have gas and water before the ANC,” said healthcare worker Dlalala.
Despite the controversy surrounding the security upgrades to President Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla, Dlalala is adamant that the ANC “has helped South Africans more than it has damaged them,” citing the building of hospitals in rural KwaZulu-Natal as one of the developments that has been introduced to the area.
Dlalala, who is from the section of iPholela in Nkandla, insists the report released last month by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is not an accurate representation of President Jacob Zuma. “I don’t trust that this is the truth … Nkandla is a beautiful place”.
After casting his vote at the Jan Hofmeyer community centre in Vrededorp, Dlalala was not shy to say: “I don’t breathe in the DA – it is difficult to speak on the DA.”
The national general elections are just around the corner but the amount of voter apathy among first time voters is frightening. Over 10 million eligible voters in South Africa have not registered to vote in tomorrow’s elections.
It’s a scary statistic and for a country that is so new to democracy, it is also quite a sad one.
HAVE YOUR SAY: South Africans go to the polls tomorrow in the 20th year of democracy. Photo: File.
This year, I am voting for the first time. I am excited – it is somewhat nerve-wracking and new. For the first time in my life I am a part of a generation whose voice will be heard. It is symbolic for me that that I will be voting for the first time when our South Africa celebrates its 20 years of democracy. I count myself lucky.
I may not have personally fought for this right but I know many of you, and your parents, did play a role in the struggle. You fought for the right to vote, for freedom, for equality, for a better life – we all did, some having a bigger part to play than others but it was a collective effort.
Each person had their role to play to bring about change and now you have the right to exercise this change and vote.
But it is more than that, as citizens of a democratic country it is our right to choose the people who will implement laws and run our country. If we choose not to vote, we have no right to complain about the government or our leadership. We don’t have the right to protest against legislation or laws implemented because it was our choice not to vote and our choice not to use our right.
If you want to see change, you have to be the change. So go out there this election day – and vote! Have your say and make South Africa the place you want it to be.
You have the choice, you have the right so use it!
SERIOUS TALK: Political party representatives Andrew Gasnolar (Agang), Dali Mpofu (EFF), Mmusi Maimane (DA) and Mawethu Rune (ANC) (from left to right) answer questions at a youth debate that focused on the theme, “Why do you deserve my vote?” Photo: Tracey Ruff
by Ilanit Chernick and Tracey Ruff
Young voters had a chance to question political heavy-hitters at a debate on Tuesday but many of the youth still expressed ambivalence about who they would vote for.
The debate, called “Why, do you deserve my vote?”, was held at Jozi Hub at 44 Stanley on Tuesday afternoon and gave young people the chance to ask questions to candidates from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), ANC, Democratic Alliance (DA) and Agang.
Musician Simon Tshukudu voiced the opinion of many of the young people present when he said he was uncertain about who to vote for because “none of the political parties running keep their promises” and he was concerned about “corruption within the parties.”
[pullquote]“No one has been that impressive or awe-inspiring,”[/pullquote]
However, despite his ambivalence, Tshukudu said he attended the debate because he wanted to “voice his opinion about issues in the country”.
Tuesday’s debate focused on addressing the youth’s lack of participation in the upcoming election and the great amount of voter apathy among the youth. In addition to being held at Jozi Hub, six students from across the country were chosen to participate in the debate via Google Hangout.
DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said was encouraging the youth to vote because “it’s a South African’s right” to do so.
“We would like to build a country that is inclusive of all, including young people, especially the 1.6 million youth [in Gauteng] who can’t find work.”
The EFF’s Dali Mpofu said there was a “problem with the youth” and he hoped to “interest young people who are undecided to get involved and participate”.
POLITICS OF FUN: The EFF’s Dali Mpofu and the DA’s Mmusi Maimane share a lighthearted moment at a youth debate held on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Tracey Ruff
ANC representative Mawethu Rune said he did not agree that the youth were apathetic because ANC Youth League members were winning SRC elections in universities. “[This] shows more young people are getting involved in mainstream politics”.
Following the debate, many students were still ambivalent about the election. Student entrepreneur Tebogo Photoane told Wits Vuzuzela that he was still unsure who to vote for.
“No one has been that impressive or awe-inspiring,” Photoane said.
Former Wits student Mashokane Mahlo, however, said she had done a lot of thinking about her vote and had decided on what party to support.
“I know who I’m voting for, but my decision was changed recently because of new information I received,” said Mahlo. “It took a long time for me to decide.”
The Wits Great Debate is a series of four debates happening in the run-up to the national elections. Graphic: Wits Communications.
This week’s Great Debate will feature Fikile Mbalula (ANC) vs Mbali Ntuli (DA) vs Floyd Shivambu (EFF).
The debate takes place in the Wits Great Hall, Thursday, March 17 at 8pm.
Wits Vuvuzela has been advised that no more tickets are available for the event.
Visit the Wits University site for more detailed information.