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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid