News / Africa

South Africans to Vote in Local Government Elections

Former president Nelson Mandela, assisted by his grand daughter Ndileka Mandela and an IEC official, casts his special vote for the local government elections at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, May 16, 2011
Former president Nelson Mandela, assisted by his grand daughter Ndileka Mandela and an IEC official, casts his special vote for the local government elections at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, May 16, 2011
Delia Robertson

South Africans vote Wednesday in local government elections many see as a test of voters’ patience with the dominant African National Congress party, which is increasingly criticized for its failures to provide basic services, for corruption, and for poor management, particularly at the local level.

A recent report by the national auditor general to the cabinet on local governments, and leaked to local media, has revealed widespread corruption, waste and incompetence. The report recommends intervention by the national government in more than a third of the country’s municipalities.

The Afrikaans language Beeld newspaper reported last week the cabinet was so concerned about the impact of the report ahead of this week’s elections it ordered the report be reworked prior to its release. The cabinet spokesperson issued a strongly worded denial, but Beeld stands by its report.

The contents of the report rings true for many South Africans, increasing numbers of whom take to the streets in regular protests because of poor or no basic services such as water and electricity, collapsing health care facilities, inadequate housing and public transport, and always, in every protest it seems, corruption.

They are especially angered when they compare their lives to those of government officials, many of whom have been severely criticized for their willingness to spend taxpayers' money on luxuries.

Mamsi Malope Malaka who lives in Sandton, says these are the things that make her feel that voting is a useless exercise.

“I feel like there is no need for me to vote because I won’t benefit at the end of the day, the only people who are going to benefit is the officials,” said Malaka.

But first-time voter Kleintje Mpoto, who lives and studies in downtown Johannesburg, says the ANC is the only party worthy of his vote.

“I think it is pretty obvious that the ANC is the only relevant organization to vote for,” said Mpoto.

Ebrahim Fakir of the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa told a debate on the eNews television service that despite increasing frustration with the government, the ANC is likely to continue its winning streak.

“Well, I think there are going to be some surprises, but not as many as we might think there are, I think the question of Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan [area] has been hyped up, not because of the strength of other political parties, but the ANC's challenge is going to be whether they can actually get their people out to vote,” said Fakir.

Few experts expect a major swing away from the ANC, but many are predicting that in this election voters will begin to demonstrate a loss of patience with the party. Author and analyst Pumla Qgola, speaking during the same debate, says the party likely to benefit most will be the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

“The ANC will win the majority, however I think it will be a shakier majority then it has ever been before," said Qgola. "I think the DA will give the ANC a big run for its money in several [metropole].”

The DA governs the Western Cape province and the city of Cape Town metropolitan area where it has won plaudits from the auditor general for efficient and honest government. The party is criticized by some for favoring wealthier areas over poor communities, but the DA says its record for service delivery to the poor is there for all to see.

Despite the widespread criticisms, the ANC remains popular and can also point to many achievements since the advent of democracy in 1994 - better access to water and electricity for millions, over two million houses for the poor, government grants for the needy, more clinics and free education.

But analysts say the ANC’s record is spotty and will have to improve dramatically for the party to halt growing frustration among voters

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs