‘I’m voting to punish the ANC’

2014-05-07 20:49

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Wanting to punish the ANC was among the reasons residents of Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape voted today despite calls by the Sterkspruit Civic Association (SCA) to stay at home and boycott the polls.

The call by the SCA, which was not visible today, comes after years of unrest in the small town on the Lesotho border.

The SCA is demanding an independent municipality from the ANC-run Senqu local municipality amid allegations of corruption and the sidelining of Sterkspruit with service delivery.

But some of the residents today decided they would go ahead and vote.

Noluvo Ntobela (23), who works as a cashier in one of the local shops, said she would split her vote between the DA and EFF in the national and provincial vote.

Ntobela who was voting for the second time after having done so in 2009, said she was disappointed by the ANC, which she had voted for before.

“The ANC has not lived up to its promises. When I vote I will be doing so for jobs and for free education,” she said while standing in the queue at the main voting station at the city hall.

The Tienbank resident said she had decided to vote despite the call to boycott because she wanted to punish the ANC.

“I think it makes more sense to vote against the party, which has made you angry than to not vote at all. That’s why I am here,” she said.

Her sister, Nonguquko (26) who had just cast her vote, said she was very excited to have made the mark.

The unemployed mother of one said she voted to make a difference.

“I voted in the hope of free quality education and jobs,” she said, “though I do not agree with the call not to vote I do agree with the call for a different municipality away from Senqu, hence I voted.”

Wandisile Mbakaza (50) said though he supported the call for an independent municipality, he could not stay away because voting was a constitutional right.

“We continue to vote even though these parties desert us after elections, but what else can we do? I am voting for a better life,” he said, without saying who he voted for.

Buyile Tyapha (34), also from Tienbank, said he voted for the DA because the party was promising to create jobs.

“As youth we are unemployed, that is why I voted for the DA, because we have given the ANC a chance and they have disappointed us,” he said.

Sterkspruit has been hit by several service delivery protests in the past during which tyres were burnt and roads blockaded with stones.

In one incident in February last year, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by police after protests flared up in the impoverished town, while businesses were forced to shut down completely.

Interventions by government and ANC officials who visited the town have fallen on deaf ears.

Mcebisi Mgojo, chairman of the SCA, said they were now waiting for the presidency to intervene as they have lost all confidence in other spheres of government.

Former co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Richard Baloyi and his successor, Lechesa Tsenoli, have tried to intervene without success.

Premier Noxolo Kiviet and MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Mlibo Qoboshiyane also tried to intervene but did not make a breakthrough.

Burnt dustbins could be seen on the streets, which were patrolled by police and SANDF members during the elections.

Meanwhile, EFF spokesperson in the Eastern Cape Vuyisile Schoeman said they have lodged a case with the IEC after they spotted marked ballot papers before a voting station had even opened at Sterkspruit’s Ekuzoleni voting station.

The ANC on the other hand also opened a case with the IEC after members in party T-shirts were allegedly turned away from voting stations in Sterkspruit by party agents because of what they wearing.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who visited the Ekuzoleni voting station, said there was nothing wrong with people wearing party colours as long as they were not campaigning inside a voting station.

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