Electioneering amid voter registration kicks up frustrations and apathy

From electricity cuts, housing, water supply and the general upkeep of essential resources, residents did not hold back.

FILE: Voting station presiding officer supervising voters as they arrive at a voting station to vote in the by-elections in Ward 30, at Rantailane Secondary School in Ga-Rankuwa on 19 May, 2021. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to resolve the ongoing power crisis in Soweto.

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Ramaphosa was in the area on Saturday to officially kick off the party’s election campaign.

He engaged with residents in Meadowlands, Chiawelo, Naledi and Orlando.

The provision of services or lack thereof was the core theme in every area he visited.

From electricity cuts, housing, water supply and the general upkeep of essential resources, residents did not hold back.

They complained about waiting decades for the better lives they were promised.

But Ramaphosa - who switched between several languages in a bid to appeal to the crowds - stuck to his promise that his party was the best choice to continue governing, adding that community level issues would be addressed.

The president is in the Ehlanzeni region in Mpumalanga for Sunday’s campaign run ahead of 1 November polls.

COMMON THREAD

Politicians who visited various communities during voter registration campaigns were met with similar complaints about provision of basic services and desperate pleas for help.

Residents in Welbedacht East in Chatsworth spoke of their years-long hardships, questioning what would change if they voted.

EFF leader Julius Malema made a stop at several areas in Durban to drum up support for his party.

Malema emphasised that his party did not discriminate against anyone and that everyone was welcome.

He made this point to try and clarify that his campaigning in Phoenix was not mere electioneering on the back of recent racial tensions in the town.

Malema is optimistic about the EFF’s chances in KwaZulu-Natal.

The EFF is set to launch its election manifesto on 26 September.

LACK OF REPRESENTATION

Meanwhile, Tshwane youths say there are growing concerns about the under-representation of young people on the voters’ roll.

The first day of the Independent Electoral Commission's voter registration drive in Tshwane attracted only a few young voters.

In Hatfield – a known central university town populated with thousands of young people – have shown indications around voter apathy ahead of the elections.

Many residents flooded local bars and restaurants while, just across the road, a registration station was deserted with no queues and just a handful of voters arriving to register.

Among them was first time voter Nkosephayo Mdaka who said he came out to register to have a say about his future.

Mdaka’s peers who volunteered as party agents said that the low turnout was disheartening.

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