Saturday should have been the beginning of the voter rush, yet Cape Town’s registration stations remained eerily quiet. The stillness of empty rooms and vacant chairs communicated that many Capetonians had yet to place voting high on their priority list. Those who did make their way to polling stations had a few words for the politicians vying for their votes.
RA’EESA PATHER spoke to Capetonians registering to vote on Saturday.
Ek vote omdat ons ‘n beter government wil he. Ek vote altyd vir die DA, maar ek like nou soema om Julius Malema te vote. Hy’s kwaai met sy bek man! Ek wil niks he van hom nie, hy gaan almal die geld vat! Ek wil net hoor wat gaan hy praat as hy in Parliament sit. Ek glo nie hy sal van my probleme praat nie. Ek maak maar net ‘njok om Julius Malema. Ek vote vir die DA.
Ek glo Helen Zille luister na my probleme. Ek hetie ‘n huis nie, ek betaal nog rent waar ek bly. Ek moet my baas nog Union toe vat, want hy betaal my nie lekker nie. Ek weet nie nou van my lewe nie. Ek is nou klaar amper 50. Alles wat Helen Zille moet doen, sy moet vir die kinders doen.
(Approximate translation: I’m voting because we want a better government. I always vote for the DA but now I’d like to just vote for Julius Malema. He’s got quite a mouth on him! I don’t like him though, he’s going to take everyone’s money! I just want to hear what he’s going to say when he’s in Parliament. I don’t think he’ll talk about my problems. I’m just making a joke about Julius Malema. I’m voting for the DA.
I believe Helen Zille listens to my problems. I don’t have a house of my own, I still pay rent where I live. I must still take my boss to the Union because he doesn’t pay me well. I don’t know how much longer I have to live. I’m now almost 50-years-old. Whatever Helen Zille must do, she must do for the children.)
Renee Fortune, 26, copywriter
As a citizen, as someone who wants to see change in the city and the country in general, I think I can’t complain when I’m displeased with what the government is doing if I’m not actively involved in the voting process. I like what Helen Zille’s doing, I like the DA’s policies and I think that if the ANC had to regain control of the Western Cape it would be a political and a social disaster. I like the fact that Helen Zille’s so focused on fighting the war on drugs. I think, especially in Woodstock, it’s a big issue and I feel that out of all the politicians I’m aware of she is very bent on focusing on the drug issue. I think it’s going to go a long way.
Ricky A, 26, business analyst
I think that all of us need to vote if we want to see a difference – if we want to see any change happening. We can’t just sit back and let everybody else do it; we have to stand up and take charge ourselves. As you can see all around us, there’s a lot of people that need service delivery, there’s a lot of corruption in the government, so I think those are the big areas that need to be looked at. If I look at a lot of the other provinces not run by the DA I think the DA can definitely make a difference so I am – I’m not going to say I’m happy, but I think they are doing a better job versus some of the other provinces.
Lennox Sotho, 56, car guard
I’m voting the ANC. They make my life better because my children is going to school and getting the pay, the grant for school. I’m happy because I’ve been suffering. I’ve got plenty of suffering.
Kesh Sukhu, 22, merchandise planner
I believe voting makes a difference. I haven’t decided yet who I’m going to vote for. There’s a few parties that interest me but I haven’t yet made a decision. Yeah, I think the DA have done good in the Western Cape. From the government that takes over, I want them to fulfil their promises and make sure they deliver on what they promised.
Jayni Patel, 20, student at University of Cape Town
I believe that everyone should vote – because we have a right to vote so we should. I’m probably going to vote for the DA, because I think they do a really great job and I think that they have minimal corruption. I think that they have their head in the right place. I think the education system needs a lot of improvement as well as government hospitals. A lot of students are interested in voting, but a lot aren’t. I think it’s like 50-50.
Elizabeth Otitodun, researcher
I think your vote makes a difference. I don’t believe that elections equates to democracy, but I do think that there is more that we as ordinary citizens can do to bring democracy to life. I do believe there is a strong need to look at the macro political environment as well. Africa’s always been of strategic interest to Western countries and it hasn’t changed since colonialism, and if we don’t wake up to that we are going to fight amongst ourselves.
I’m not voting for the party that I always voted for, it’s the first time that I’m actually going to change who I’m going to be voting for. It’s tragic because we had so much hope. There’s been both an upside and a downside to the growth of the middle class, and BEE and all of that, but I think the let-down is that ordinary people haven’t really experienced that on a larger scale. Some have been able to make use of their opportunities, but most of the people in poorer communities have not been able to. I voted ANC, but now I’ll possibly vote DA.