'It's like crossing a line from the rich to us' - Mitchells Plain residents mull who to vote for

2019-05-06 08:47
Eisleben Road in Mitchells Plain. (Tammy Petersen,
Eisleben Road in Mitchells Plain. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Kyle Isaacs sits on a street corner in Mitchells Plain. He points to a blue elections poster reading "Jobs, not corruption" and smiles.

"I will vote for that," he says. "I am so frustrated with being at home, unemployed. I feel hopeless. I can't even give my mother something to keep the pot going. Work is scarce."

He plans to cast his vote for the DA, hopeful that Mmusi Maimane and premier candidate Alan Winde will make good on their promise of jobs for the millions of unemployed people.

From time to time Isaacs sells vegetables for one of his neighbours who grows his own in his backyard. He is paid a percentage of his sales, sometimes only R50 a day.

"But when you have nothing, that money is a lot. I buy some groceries and electricity to put the geyser on so that we can wash in hot water. I would love for it to stay on, but it uses too many units. So most nights it's one kettle-full of water in a kommetjie [wash tub] because we'd like to keep the lights on."

Also read: 'I don't know what I'm voting for' - poor and hungry, 9 people live in one room

Mitchells Plain (according to census data) is a predominantly coloured suburb over 30km outside the Cape Town city centre.

Considered a DA stronghold, the party garnered 1 259 645 votes in the province in the previous general elections – a total of 59.38% - which translated into 26 seats in the provincial legislature.

The ANC received 697 664 votes, 32.89%, with 14 seats.

Warren Daniels, however, is putting his faith and cross next to Patricia De Lille and the GOOD Party.

'She reminds me of a helpful aunty'

"She knows this place and the struggles of our people. She, as a strong coloured leader, understands what happens on our streets and has shown she will do what she can to help," the air-conditioning installer says.

He voted for her when she was the leader of the Independent Democrats and followed when the party merged with the DA.

"What the DA did to her, trying to discredit all her hard work, was wrong. I won't vote for them again if that is how they treat someone who has always fought corruption and wrongdoing. Yoh, they dragged her through the mud, man," he said, shaking his head.

"But I trust and believe in her. She reminds me of a helpful aunty who doesn't mind her business because she wants to fix things and make it better. In communities like mine, we need people who interfere and don't allow bad things to continue."

Warren Daniels. (Tammy Petersen, News24)
Warren Daniels. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Gangsterism and rampant crime has claimed the lives of many of his friends and people he had known since his childhood, Daniels said.

"It's easy to judge people who rob, shoot and sell drugs, but what else is there? Kids don't go to school, able-bodied youth can't find a job and our people are hungry. To solve the gang problem, we need practical solutions and opportunities for young people. Sending in more police isn't dealing with what is causing the trouble," he argued.

"Aunty Pat has never been scared to come to our area and speak to us about what she can do to help. I want to help put her in a position where she can bring change. I believe in her."

'How has the DA changed my life?'

A photo of Cynthia Smith, 65, alongside Nelson Mandela takes pride of place in her living room.

She has never wavered in her support of the ANC, even under Jacob Zuma who she considers "not a principled man".

"Their policies are clear and they've never deviated from it. Their consistency has made an impression on me. I can't see myself changing to another party," Smith says.

Cynthia Smith. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Cynthia Smith. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

She is hopeful that the ANC will be voted into power provincially, insisting that the DA had failed in addressing spatial inequality while neglecting areas like Mitchells Plain.

"When I get on a bus from the suburbs and travel home, it’s like crossing a line from the rich to us. There is a vast difference between what’s up there and down here," she said.

"The DA runs a good administration – their books are in order. But how have they changed my life? I haven't seen anything they have done for me."

Ramaphosa 'doesn't need govt's peanuts'

Maimane has not given her a reason to vote for him because "when he opens his mouth, it's to attack the ANC and not to offer an alternative".

She believes in President Cyril Ramaphosa, a "humble man who is wealthy, so he doesn’t need the peanuts from government".

"He was chosen by Mandela himself. He saw his potential. Ramaphosa waited and now is his time. He is who I am voting for."

She knows it will be a tough task for the ANC to wrestle the province from the blue party but insisted that it's "not because they are better".

Ramaphosa visited Mitchells Plain on Friday in his last push in the province ahead of the elections. The Portlands indoor sports centre was anything but packed, but the president nevertheless turned on the charm, encouraging people to go out in their numbers in support of the ANC.

Bruce Keet ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa's vi

Bruce Keet ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa's visit to Mitchells Plain on Friday. (Tammy Petersen)

A quarterly market research survey conducted by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) into voter preferences, attitudes and the South African political landscape indicated that in the Western Cape, the DA currently stands at 44.6%, down 5.5 percentage points from February (50.1%). The ANC currently stands on 27.8% on the provincial ballot, down 6.1 percentage points from February (33.9%).

The ACDP currently stands on 7.0% on the provincial ballot, up 3.5 percentage points from February (3.5%), while the EFF currently stands on 6.8% on the provincial ballot, up 5.8 percentage points from February (1.0%), News24 last week reported.

'May the best liar win'

In terms of race, the IRR found that voting patterns at national level indicated that 68.5% of all coloured voters specified they would vote DA, compared to 10.9% for the ANC and 4.7% for the EFF.

But as politicians enter the final stretch of campaigning, Miche Pretorius wants no one to come knocking on her door.

The born-free has never registered to vote, calling politicians a "bunch of liars who make empty promises".

"I live in a backyard and have never had a flushing toilet. I have a casual job but am at home most of the time. My parents voted and that never got them anywhere. So what is the point?" the 24-year-old asked.

"The only highlight is that it's a public holiday. Tomorrow, I am still going to live in a hokkie (shack), the open fields are still going to be covered in dirt and the tik koppe (tik heads) are still going to rob in those areas without proper lighting. May the best liar win."

Find everything you need to know about the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections.

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