Malamulele: ‘We would have loved to vote but it’s not safe’

2014-05-07 11:23

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It looks like a Saturday morning in central Malamulele where voting is continuing amid a very low voter turnout.

A group of ANC members was seen handing out party T-shirts and approaching voters as they went in and out of the gates at a voting station situated at the Limpopo town’s sportsfield.

Police vehicles, including nyalas, drove up and down Malamulele’s streets.

Those who turned out to vote were mostly the elderly and middle-aged citizens. Two young men who spoke to City Press on condition of anonymity said they would have loved to have voted, but they did not want to be seen as sellouts.

“The community is still angry and feels that President Jacob Zuma did not say anything concrete when he was here recently. Right now it may not be safe for any young person to be seen voting when it is well known that the community has decided not to vote,” one resident said.

“The truth, however, is that we’re divided on whether we should vote or not. The elderly have been voting but, unlike the youth, they feel that they can’t be intimidated by anyone.”

An elderly woman who voted said she was not free when she voted. “I felt the need to cast my vote although I have heard that we should not vote. I feel unsafe because I walked straight from my house alone to the voting station, but I am very happy to have cast my vote,” she said.

“Our children have been fighting for a municipality, but I don’t see how this can stop me from voting. I am praying that elections go smoothly without any incidents.”

Residents of Malamulele have threatened to boycott the elections unless the government committed to accede to their demands for their own municipality, independent from the Thulamela municipality. Residents believe their own municipality will enhance service delivery.

Zuma was recently booed when he addressed the residents of Malamulele. He promised residents that their grievance would get some attention.

Meanwhile, NFP and EFF billboards with the smiling faces of Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi and Julius Malema – dominating the skyline on the main road in Malamulele – overlooked a voting station at the sportsfield.

Very few election posters were spotted on electric poles across Malamulele with the main ones being those of the DA. No incidents of intimidation or violence have been reported in Malamulele.

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