23 April 2009
Anna Majavu Source: The Sowetan
The elections went off without a hitch in Gugulethu and only time will tell if the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign’s boycott of the polls had made any impact on the political scene.
About 50 members of the group held an impromptu protest outside Gugulethu police station yesterday as part of an
elections boycott also supported by Durban’s Abahlali base Mjondolo and Johannesburg’s Anti-Privatisation Forum.
In a statement released yesterday, the Anti-Eviction Campaign said real issues, like the lack of housing, had been swept under the carpet by politicians.
Parties spent too much time focusing on the personal lives of other party leaders and on promising “vague slogans” such as “hope” and “change”.
A protester, Margaret Sxubane, 42, said she was “very hungry”.
“I didn’t eat all day and I rarely have food in my backyard shack.
“I voted three times before but why should I vote now?”
Sxubane said if someone from the ANC came to give her a key to one of the empty houses in nearby Nyanga, she would vote immediately.
Violet Skosana, 70, said she had been living in a backyard shack for 30 years.
“How can I vote when I was born in Cape Town, have been on the waiting list for a house for 15 years and yet I still live in a backyard?” she asked.
David Boqwana, 57, said he was boycotting the elections because “we get fokol from voting.”
Meanwhile, a long queue at the Gugulethu Sports Complex voting station in the morning had cleared by lunch time.
There was no hint of animosity between Cope and ANC party agents outside the polling station, who set up tables close to each other.
ANC party agents said “there is no problem between us because we have known each other for a long time”.
Cope party agent Nozipho Moloto said “people are coping, not zooming, and we don’t have showers”.
“The youth especially have been coping today. They don’t want to hear about the arms deal anymore,” she said.
The recent defection of Dan Landingwe, brother of ANC Gugulethu ward councillor Belinda Landingwe, to Cope, could be seen as a sign that Gugulethu may not be the ANC stronghold it once was.
Although both sides claimed most people had voted for them, the voters were not willing to reveal which parties they had voted for.
Nombulelo Jaxa said she found voting “nice and wonderful”, adding, “I’m happy everything went well today”.
And Nokuzola Mpalala, said: “I’m very happy I voted because I want a brighter future for my children”.
She said she now understood why the Anti-Eviction Campaign had boycotted the election. “Government must speed up service delivery. We are not voting for fun. I’m afraid if things like building houses don’t happen, government will have to be careful.”
Thembile Twalo said though he supported the ANC, he would not vote for it.
“I’m not voting for anyone today. I voted in 2004 but none of the things Thabo Mbeki promised came true. Now I’m waiting for the 2014 election. Maybe if 2010 goes well, this will motivate me,” Twalo said.
He said he had come to the polling station just to see what was happening.