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 Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.