Janice Cornelius of Bonteheuwel proves she made her mark. (Tammy Petersen, News24)
Cape Town – A campaign initiated in the Bonteheuwel to encourage people to spoil their ballots in defiance of empty promises by politicians, was a waste of the privilege to cast your vote for community improvement, one local voter said.
Janice Cornelius, 36, believed that squandering the right denied residents the opportunity to elect a candidate to move the city forward.
"What is the point of throwing away this opportunity? You are not going to get anything right," the graphic designer told News24, shortly after she made her mark at a local primary school.
The campaign, #IamSpoilingMyBallotWithMyBlood, encourages voters to make their X across the entire ballot to show their dissatisfaction with service delivery, specifically relating to community safety.
"By doing that, you lose your right to say what you want to say. You then have no right to complain. Why give up a right that people died for? Rather just shut up, then. Don’t waste everyone’s time."
She conceded that gangsterism and constant shooting in the Cape Flats community was an enormous concern.
"Dis baie deurmekaar hierso [It's very mixed up here]. I understand people’s frustration and why they are dismayed. I feel the same. But if you want to see change, do something to make it happen."
Party agents at Bergsig Primary School confirmed voters wearing T-shirts with the hashtag had been to the voting station that day.
"People are fed-up. And it’s understandable, I suppose," one said.
Constant shootings have locals living in fear, one elderly resident told News24. She asked not to be named, as she feared being targeted.
The 74-year-old woman said she too would not waste her opportunity to make her mark at the polls.
"I have voted in every election since 1994. It’s important if you want to see change in your community. I think long and hard about who I am going to trust with my vote," she said.
Spoiling ballots a 'bold stand'
On the Official Bonteheuwel Group, Facebook users explained why they would spoil their ballots.
"We cannot, in good faith, make an X for political parties who only knows [sic] and cares about us during election time. Let’s let the system know by our spoilt votes that we are not accepting being forgotten and being lied to year after year after year," one man wrote.
Another local wrote that people may call campaign supporters "dumb, stupid and ignorant", but that they were taking a "bold stand".
"We are community activists who dare to be different and cut through the political BS. And we do all this for a safer and better community. We choose to spoil our ballot papers because we don’t buy into party political BS and manipulation."
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