Thousands of voters in Soweto came out to cast their vote during South Africa’s fifth democratic elections. Early birds arrived at about 6am to avoid standing in the long queues. At the top of list of memorandum ‘X’ seem to be jobs, houses and better service delivery. UYANDA SIYOTULA visited various polling stations in Soweto and spoke to unemployed voters.
People were asked to give a phrase that sums up their feelings about their current state of employment and another that best describes their voting objective/expectations.
Ngubentombi Mhlangabezi, 36, Motsoaledi
Poor vs Jobs I woke up to vote because I want a job: we do not have anything and we are poor. Voting is important because for you to be able to complain you need to have voted. If you do not, then you do not have a say because voting is your voice. After elections I am expecting jobs, better living conditions and proper houses – I do not want to live in a shack anymore. I voted African National Congress (ANC) for the fact that they have been in power for long and I believe that they will now give us the things that we want. Now they have pressure from opposition parties that will push them to deliver.
Sad vs Jobs
I am here to support the party that I love: it has brought me a lot of things in life. I cannot stop voting for the ANC. I am not working at the moment but I am expecting the ANC to provide job opportunities as President Jacob Zuma said in his speech. I’m looking forward to seeing that, but I’m not really excited because they promised us things, but at the end of the day they did not deliver on their promise. Nonetheless, I am hoping that after we have voted the leadership of the party will pull up their socks.
Struggling vs Houses
Life is difficult when you are not employed. Everything needs money: kids need food and toiletries and,
when you are not working, it is hard to have those. I am voting for change: I have voted for ANC so many times but I have not seen any change. Look at where we are living – nobody cares to come and look at our living conditions in this squatter camp. So I voted for the United Democratic Movement since I think they will care about us – people in squatter camps. I am hopeful that they will give us houses and give us jobs.
I actually expect a lot of change.
Difficulties vs Jobs
I am not working; life is hard – even my husband is not working. I voted for the ANC because Mandela gave us a better life. We have RDP houses now. I used to live in a shack, but not anymore – I have my own RDP house. Sometimes we get vouchers for food parcels so that we can have something to eat, so I am hoping that after elections there will be job opportunities. I want them to give me a job and a social grant because I have arthritis. Even though the ANC has failed in the past, I have hope that they will give us jobs after elections.
Happy vs Houses
I am happy to be voting: there is no way that I cannot vote because of not working – that will kill democracy. We must give parties a chance and not say we won’t vote – that is not right, otherwise we cannot progress. I voted for the ANC because I want the government to create jobs. We want houses. It cannot fail all the time, so I want to give it another chance. Let us give it a second chance: as humans we also need a second chance, so why not the ANC? Nobody is perfect, but no matter who says what, ANC is number one.
Tough vs Services
The situation is tough: I always need money but I do not have any, because I am not working. I am voting for change today. I want a decent job, not labour brokers. It is boring if you work for like three months and, before you know it, you are jobless again. I expect more job opportunities after elections. There are many changes that I am hoping the ANC will bring – especially starting to care about the youth, because most of young people in SA are involved in drugs and that is killing us. So they need jobs so that they no longer do all the bad stuff.
Hopeful vs Poverty-alleviation
I am here to vote today because I want to make a difference for the youth and the teenagers. If the
government can create skills-development schemes for young people and create employment then South Africa will be a better place. The power of my vote is change and I want to see improvement in our community. I want to see the youth access life skills. I believe that the ANC will provide that. I think it shows you are illiterate when you want to sit at home and not vote: the ANC will not just give jobs – you need to get up. Yes, it will create job opportunities, but you need to go out there and start looking.