'Zuma did not do anything to help us' – Nkandla gogo

2016-08-02 09:25
Nora Doreen Dladla, 92
Nora Doreen Dladla, 92, in her home in Esakhile, Nkandla before casting her special vote in the 2016 local government elections (Amanda Khoza/News24)

Nkandla – "Who is [President Jacob] Zuma? What has he done for me?"

These were the questions Nora Doreen Dladla, 92, asked ahead of casting her special vote at her home in Esakhile, Nkandla, on Monday afternoon.

Dladla, who was relaxing on a single bed balanced on four concrete bricks, had applied for a special vote because she could no longer walk.

Asked how she felt about the fact that the country's president was from Nkandla, she said, "I don't know [President Jacob] Zuma. I have never seen him, I have only heard his voice on radio.

"Having a president from Nkandla has done nothing for the people of Nkandla. He did not do anything to help us or to improve our lives."

News24 visited Dladla, who by 13:40, was still waiting for electoral commission officials so that she could vote in the 2016 local government elections.

Second special vote

People living with disabilities and people who will not be at the voting stations where they registered on August 3, were given the opportunity to cast special votes – after first making an application.

Dladla, wearing what appeared to be pyjamas and a black beanie from beneath which her grey hair could be seen, said she had nine children but was left with six.

She said this was her second special vote.

"I was married but my husband left this earth a long time ago. He is dust now," quipped the witty elderly woman.

Dladla said she had lived all her life in Nkandla, which falls under the Uthungulu District Municipality, now known as King Cetshwayo District Municipality.

The municipality is governed by the Inkatha Freedom Party.

'Voting is very important'

"I was born in an area called eMachubeni, eziMbidla. I have lived here all my life. I applied for a special vote because I cannot walk for a long time and I don't have a problem with it because I don't want to go anywhere anyways," she said, laughing so much she ended up coughing.

The furthest the elderly woman can walk is to the bathroom, about 10 steps away from her bed.  

When asked who she would vote for on Monday afternoon she responded, "Am I supposed to tell you who I am voting for? I know who I am voting for, it is my little secret."

The grandmother and great-grandmother of about 25 urged the youth to go out and vote, irrespective of which party they voted for.

"Voting is very important; it took us out of the struggle. You have to vote," she said.

Dladla has never been formally employed and was pleasantly surprised when asked if she had ever worked in her life.

Poverty, hunger in rural areas

"Work? I never worked. I only ploughed the farms while my husband worked in Johannesburg."

Life in Nkandla was simple, said Dladla.

"Life in the rural areas is really simple, we have electricity, water and everything that we need, what more do we need?"

Dladla has never longed for the big city, however she admitted that problems in rural areas were different from those in the cities.

"There is poverty here and people are hungry, but I have never dreamed of big city life."

Dladla joked as she waited for the IEC officials.

"I am hopeful that I would have voted by the time I go to bed tonight," she said.

When the IEC officials did eventually arrive however, they were met with an instruction from the elderly woman's family to return on Tuesday, said Nkandla Mayor Thami Ntuli.

Apparently Dladla had refused to vote without the presence of one of her daughters. 

- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local 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, or download the app for iOS and Android.

Read more on: iec  |  nkandla  |  local elections 2016