News / Africa

South Africans Vote in Local Government Elections; Opposition Gains Seen

People queue to cast their ballots in local municipality elections, in a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, May 18, 2011
People queue to cast their ballots in local municipality elections, in a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, May 18, 2011
Delia Robertson

South Africans voted in local elections Wednesday many see as test of voters’ patience with the dominant African National Congress, or ANC. A few voting stations opened late, and a few others had technical problems that resulted in long lines. However, most problems were resolved by midday, leaving voters to focus on the issues that are fueling discontent with the ruling party. 

For the first time since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994 the dominant African National Congress is facing a serious challenge in more than one major metropolitan area. The Democratic Alliance, or DA, which has governed Cape Town for the past five years, is this time also running neck-and-neck with the ANC in Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay.

Analysts are saying the outcomes in those centers will indicate the extent to which voters are losing patience with the dominant ANC, which is increasingly criticized for its failure to fulfill its promises, failure to provide jobs and housing, and for corruption and poor management, particularly at the local level.

In previous elections many traditional ANC voters, having become dissatisfied, simply stayed away from the polls. This continues in some cases, such as Lungamani Mufampirane, 24, who lives in an informal settlement in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township. He told VOA he would not vote again until the ANC improves its track record.

“The first thing is corruption, nepotism, those are, creating jobs, those are the things that can convince me to vote," said Mufampirane. "If they can stick on those things, I can vote.”

But observers say this time there seems to be a shift among these voters and that the turnout will likely be a few percent higher than the 48 percent in the 2006 local government poll.

They some of these are voters willing to make the emotional shift from undying support for the party of liberation to another party in the hopes this will bring much desired improvements in their communities. One of those is Vasco da Game, 48, from one of Alexandra’s developed areas, who tells VOA he is tired of waiting for promises to uplift the township so many simply know as Alex.

“I am completely not satisfied," said da Game. "If you know Alex [Alexandra township], Alex has got a big population. Most of them are unemployed first of all, secondly the houses are overcrowded in one yard just next to us, this yard here has got 24 families.  Twenty four families staying in approximately 94 square meters, you can imagine what the problems [are].”

Another voter who is weary of broken promises is Thembani Nkomo, a 40-year-old resident of Vusumuzi informal settlement in Tembisa township north of Johannesburg.  He too tells VOA his vote will be for change.

“Majority of these politicians are damn liars. They have given us endless promises, but nothing is ever forthcoming," said Nkomo. "You know there is not delivery, they have just some promises, but anyway what else can one do to give that positive change if you don’t cast a vote? It is just you know, a [last] resort, we are hopeful if we cast our votes, then that will actually give a positive change.”

But there are many voters who still believe in the ANC and who, like Amkulane Mashaba, will continue to vote for the party they say has already done a lot for South Africans and will do even more in the future.

“They have promised a lot of things, so maybe as I am a youth, they are going to provide us with many jobs, you know because after school I want to see myself working, so if I can cast my vote, that is where I can find myself working,” said Mashaba.

The results of Wednesday's voting are expected by the weekend.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid