Voting is like a one-night stand, says Sisulu

SRC pic

PLEASE VOTE: (L-R): Pitso Moses, IEC member in Gauteng; Carien du Plessis, a journalist and radio personality Shaka Sisulu, were hosted by the Wits SRC at a discussion on voting last night. Photo: Palesa Tshandu.

A small group of Witsies came together last night to discuss the issue of spoiling a vote in next month’s national elections.

The Wits SRC (Students Representatives Council) hosted journalist Carien du Plessis and radio personality Shaka Sisulu in a discussion that appeared to be a reaction to the NoVote! campaign launched earlier in the day.

In contrast to the Sidikiwe Vukani campaign started by ANC (African National Congress) veterans Ronnie Kasrils and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge yesterday, the popular opinion at last night’s gathering was in support of social responsibility through voting.

“Democracy only works when you work on it yourself”, said Wits Dean of students, Dr Pamela Dube. “You should vote because you can … we [as South Africans] have a lot to be proud about and contribute [towards our democracy].”

But not all the audience members shared the sentiment. “I’m from the Eastern Cape,” one student commented during the talk. “Even after 20 years of democracy, there is still no electricity [in my hometown], there are still no jobs … what will my one vote do to [to change anything]?”

Sisulu, in response to the student, said that South Africans need to participate in the affairs of government beyond just casting a vote once every five years: “What makes us think that we can have a relationship with our government like that – that’s not a relationship, that’s a one night stand … We must be in a constant dialogue.”

The discussion included talks by the Wits SRC President Shafee Verachia and Pitso Moses of Gauteng’s Independent Electoral Commission and was attended by about 50 people.


‘Do it for Chris Hani’ say protesters at ‘Vote NO’ campaign launch

WE SAY NO: ANCYL and SACP members gathered outside the location of the launch in protest against it.

WE SAY NO: ANCYL and SACP supporters  gather outside the launch of the ‘Vote NO’ campaign in protest of it. Photo: Rofhiwa Madzena

The launch of a campaign calling for South Africans to spoil their vote in the upcoming national elections attracted a small protest from political parties at Wits today. 

The  Sidikiwe Vukani! [We are fed up! Wake up!] campaign, formed by African National Congress (ANC) stalwarts Ronnie Kasrils and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was formally inaugurated at a small launch held at the campus in Braamfontein. 

Joined by Wits senior lecturer Vishwas Satgar, the group were called ‘traitors’ by protesters who were kept outside of the launch venue by Campus Control security officers.

Satgar, a lecturer in International Relations, said he and the other former ANC members were accused of slander, of attacking on the democracy and treason.

He added that the criticism was expected: “We welcome this as it is in the spirit of [a] democratic debate”. He also said: “If you vote for the ANC you vote for the Guptas who are parasites in the country”.

[pullquote]“I think he undermines the intellectual capacity of South Africans.”[/pullquote] 

WE'RE LISTENING: ANC veterans Ronnie Kasrils, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and Vishwas Satgar listen to a question asked by a journalist about the new campaign

WE’RE LISTENING: ANC veterans Ronnie Kasrils, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and Vishwas Satgar listen to a question asked by a journalist about the new campaign. Photo: Rofhiwa Madzena 

A statement released by the campaign read: “We want a just, fair and egalitarian society as promised society as promised in the freedom charter and clarified in The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” The campaign calls on voters who are disgruntled with the ruling party to either spoil their vote or vote for a minority party.

Kasrils said the ANC cannot be reformed from the inside: “There is a need to speak up and not speak within the organisation.”

Kasrils was speaking inside the South West Engineering building at Wits while members of ANC, SACP (South African Communist Party), COPE, and Agang protested the launch from outside.

Secretary of the ANCYL (African National Congress Youth League), Yamkela Fanisi said “the issue of spoiling votes is not going to necessarily assist anyone, in fact, it’s not going to contribute to the development of this country … the idea of saying that people must spoil is recklessness and irresponsible of an old person like him [Ronnie Kasrils].”

Fanisi added: “I think he undermines the intellectual capacity of South Africans.”

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to political analyst Professor Daryl Glaser, head of the Politics Department at Wits, about the significance of the campaign in the run-up to the national elections on May 7.

Glaser said people are disillusioned with Zuma’s ANC and don’t really know where to put themselves or where to place their votes. He said the campaign more aimed at regular ANC voters. “Its aim is to try to punish or discipline the ANC into becoming the ANC that these campaigners want it to be.”

Glaser said he is sceptical about the effect of the campaign on the ANC and the impact will depend on which people spoil their votes at the polls.

The launch was attended by about 100 people with about 60 people protesting outside the venue.