Ishmail Lekoma. (Wim Pretorius, News24)
Potchefstroom - Some residents of Ikageng in Potchefstroom will not vote on August 3, because they are fed up with a government they claim does little for its people.
Ishmail Lekoma, 56, spends his days hustling for small jobs that can help put a plate of food on his table each night. The father of one says he has lived in Ikageng his entire life.
“When we got our freedom 22 years ago, the ANC said in the Freedom Charter that people shall share in the country’s wealth. An RDP house is my share,” Lekoma says.
Dressed in orange overalls, Lekoma holds a plastic sleeve containing documents with his particulars. Even at his age, he is still forced to wake up every day and look for work.
Although he has experience in carpentry, opportunities in the town are few and far between. Often he is told he is too old to be employed, yet is too young to qualify for a pension.
“I live off begging for small jobs. As I speak to you now, I have no idea what I am going to eat tonight. Life is very tough.”
'Trust no one'
Lekoma is not motivated to vote on August 3, because he no longer believes that any of the candidates have his interests at heart.
“I trust no one,” he says.
He would tell the ANC the same thing.
“I am not scared of the ANC, Mantashe or that thief of a president Zuma. The only person I fear is a criminal because they can take my life at any moment,” he says.
A few kilometres away, 43-year-old Daniel Bracy is helping his brother with his driving school duties in a field.
The unemployed father of four is trying to make some money to help his wife with the responsibilities at home.
He has also vowed not to vote, saying it will not help him. The only ones who get ahead in the town are those who know people in the right places.
“The ANC and the EFF promise people something but they don’t deliver."
There is a lot of favouritism and inequality in the way the municipality delivers to the community, he says.
Bracy has a son in matric and is struggling to get a bursary from the municipality for him. Although there are opportunities for youth in the area to study at the University of North West’s Potchefstroom campus, most of Ikageng’s children still struggle to find jobs after graduating.
The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) however wants everyone to vote on August 3.
Those considering abstaining from voting will making the IEC’s job difficult, its North West spokesperson Tumi Thiba told News24.
“We have to encourage them to vote because if they don’t vote then we are saying the country should change through a coup d’etat,” she said.
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