THE POLITICS OF POLITICS
*Caption: A board showing pointing to the voting station
Written by: Zama Ngcoya
For some, a ballot is merely a sheet where one composes an “X” next to the face of a political candidate to indicate their preferred leadership, while the ballot box on the other hand simply serves as a sealed container in which they deposit their marked ballot, during the elections. They do not use these complimentary items because they desire to see a transformation of some kind, but rather, they cast their votes because they are following suit.
For others however, marking an “X” on a ballot sheet and casting their vote into the ballot box signifies a greater part of their lives. They do this with the expectations of the worst, but hopes of the best as this action has the potential to influence a greater part of their livelihoods- whether it be for the best, or the worst.
South Africa is well known to many countries around the world for the variety of natural resources which it has to offer. The many historic sites that attract tourists from all corners of the world, the beautiful cities, infrastructure, and its rainbow nation have earned the country much recognition of the years. What also contributes to this country being one that is envied by many, is the constitution that all South Africans fell heir to when it was adopted decades ago, after the apartheid regime was put to bed.
However, although South Africa is known to many for the great which it is has to offer, it has received its fair share of wide spread criticism over the years, with violent protests attributed to poor service delivery being the leader of the pack.
Up until April this year, Municipal I.Q recorded 70 such demonstrations. This specialised local government data and intelligence organisation which collects data on service delivery protests staged against municipalities recorded Gauteng being the leading province by 26%, followed by the Eastern Cape with 24%, KwaZulu- Natal 12%, Western Cape 11%, Mpumalanga 9%, North West 7%, Limpopo 6%, Northern Cape 4% on the scourge of violent protests that have been witnessed taking place in South Africa, sighting that in the first four months of 2016. (Municipal I.Q also noted that the figures identified above are primarily against councillor candidates (a political issue), demarcation (a national decision, like that of Vuwani) and industrial relations are not included on the Municipal Hotspots Monitor).
Although South Africans seem to constantly attract the worldwide spotlight for raising their concerns and dissatisfaction of the services rendered to them, through the use of violent protests, they have also been vocal about their unhappiness with their leadership. Such as that of President Jacob Zuma when National Treasury made court ordered determination that Jacob Zuma must personally pay back the R7.8 million to South Africans after it was established that he unduly benefitted from the non-security upgrades to his homestead in Nkandla.
With the 2016 South African municipal elections due to be held, political parties have come out in their numbers in campaign, where they encouraged the public to vote for them. These campaigns have seen opposition parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Democratic Alliance (DA) promising more employment and better sanitation to the public. However, failure to pay registration fee to participate in this year’s elections has seen political parties such as the troubled National Freedom Party (NFP) being forced to sit this one out.
With many of the campaigns targeted at youth employment, Nonhlanhla Gumede from Lamontville says she is not expecting any changes in the current state of the country.
“I am registered to vote 0n the 23rd but I am not excited as nothing will change. There is too much corruption so even if I vote, I will still be left in poverty, and inequality. People before me have been voting for a better future but nothing has changed for them so my vote won’t make any difference,” said Gumede.
Gumede added that she would like to see a better education system, more employment, better housing, the availability of more services which most black and third class communities lack in and more exposure and better management of funds.
Nosipho Makhanya from Folweni says she will not be casting her vote because she could not register to vote.
“I will not be voting because I could not register. They burnt down all the municipality offices in my neighbourhood. There was a lot of chaos in the area. Schools were closed, and people broke into the surrounding shops,” said Makhanya.
Makhanya admits that not being able to register to vote did not come as a train smash for her as she did not anticipate much improvement in her community anyway.
The elections will be held on the 3rd of August 2016 for all districts and local municipalities in all nine provinces.