Why I am going to vote from Melbourne
With the changes to the electoral act, and the government putting in place the facility to handle voting for expats and foreign based South Africans; this will be the first year that South African’s abroad have the opportunity to vote.
I've been asked by a number of people whether I intend to vote and why I would vote
I've been asked this by a wide range of people mind you, from my Australian business associates and friends, to other expats in the thriving Saffer network here in Melbourne. And I've even seen a few of my friends ‘back-home’ absolutely stumped by the fact that so many South African have registered abroad.
So let me explain my 4 reasons; and know that I speak on behalf of myself, and only myself. I have no idea why the bitter when-we’s are voting; I have no idea why the travel-bugs are voting. Or anyone else for that matter.
I know why I am voting, and perhaps that insight might help you understand why it’s so important for all South Africans to have a say in the running of our Homeland.
I am South African. The fact that I live and run my business from Melbourne is irrelevant. Yes, I am in the process of becoming dual-national, yes a very large part of me thinks of myself as Australian as well as South African. Australia has welcomed me with open arms, while mostly South Africa has looked on me with disdain and a touch of sour-grapes. None of that matters. I am South African. As long as the law allows me, a South African citizen, the right to vote from abroad, I will exercise that right. Freedom, and the right to vote came at a massive price in our country, I will not squander that right, or spit in the face of the heroes of the struggle by not voting.
That’s the first reason.
If you vote. You earn the right to debate politics (i.e. complain). If you don’t or won’t vote, then sit down, shut up, and let the people who care have a healthy debate. I want the right to debate. That right only comes when I have voted.
That’s reason number two
Pretty much my entire immediate family still live in South Africa. It matters to me what happens to them. And if my vote, even in its lonesomeness of being only one vote, can make a difference in their lives, then I will vote. And I will continue to vote as long as I believe it will make a difference in their lives.
That’s the third reason
There are some nasty types in the world, South Africa has more than its fair share of ‘sour-grapers’. People who won’t leave, and yet also won’t make a difference, but will complain. Not everyone is like this, I know, and luckily I know very few people who are like that personally. But they are there, in amongst the trolls on news24.com. Dismissing everything expats have to say, because, well, “Who cares what a traitor thinks” right?
It annoys, infuriates, and almost drives these people insane that South Africans abroad can vote. And even more than that, they very nearly have strokes thinking about how many people have registered already. Still stuck in that Us-vs-Them apartheid style thinking, it’s impossible for them to comprehend that my South African’ness comes not from being IN South Africa, but in being FROM South Africa. It gives me great satisfaction, and immense joy to stick to these people. They hate the fact that I CAN vote, even though I’m overseas. So suck it baby, maybe it will improve your sour lemon face.
That’s reason number four.
Why I am voting, is far less relevant overall than the fact that I am voting. If you’re still hung up on my reasons, move on dude, you’re focusing on the wrong thing. You getting up and voting is far more important than whinging about expats who want to vote.
I must commend the ANC (and nope, I’m not voting for them), who sent a delegation to Perth. I am not sure they will have much luck with recruitment from people they called Traitors and dismissed out of the country with contempt, not so long ago, but you know what; every vote counts, and they know it. And they are doing everything to get those votes. Even changing their tune about the expats. Too little too late maybe, but you know what, they are trying.
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