Voting stations saw dwindling numbers this past weekend as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials stationed around Cape Town began the registration for the local municipal elections. On the weekend, VOC visited several registration venues and found a general interest in participating in this year’s elections. South Africans remain outraged at government’s failure to address the plaguing issues in the country.
With the Fees Must Fall protests, voters said they empathized with the hardships experienced by students facing academic and financial exclusion and that these current circumstances has given them little hope in the government’s ability.
“Why should we vote if we can’t afford education. People have been thrown out university because they can’t afford going to university. They tried improving their own circumstances and government didn’t intervene causing them to suffer financially,” says Maxwell Dubbe.
“Government needs to focus on making education more accessible and affordable to the community,” says Thabang Tshwane.
Mowbray Town Hall IEC officials confirmed that registered voters are fewer than they were in previous years. Officials say that the hall has been empty most of the day as people trickle in.
“People are coming in ones and twos. There are not that many people. It’s been so empty and quiet here,” an official said.
Registered voters stressed the importance of voting. They emphasized that if South Africans do not exercise their right to vote they cannot complain about service delivery.
“We need to vote otherwise we can’t hold those account for impoverished conditions. Voting is important to hold those account exercising power,” says Andrew James.
“If I don’t vote I have no say in what government does,” says Tshwane.
First time voters shared their excitement to participate in the up and coming elections. They say that South Africa is the most liberal country compared to others globally and people should exercise their right to vote.
“We have the right to vote not like other countries where people are dictated to,” says Brushwah Navki.
“As a young person I realise we need to take part in this. If we vote we can improve the economy. We can get government to address our issues by getting the right people in power,” says Abdullah Allistair.
A second registration weekend has been earmarked for 9 and 10 April.
VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)