Low voter turn-out at Atteridgeville, Pretoria West

Sunday, March 6, 2011
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The final day of the voter registration weekend of the 18 May Municipal elections was slow in some voting stations in both Atteridgeville and Pretoria West. 

When BuaNews arrived at Edward Phathudi Comprehensive School voting station in Atteridgeville on Sunday morning, there were four people, two elderly women, middle-aged man and 25-year-old Justice Mokansi. 

First time voter, Mokansi who works as a security guard said: "I came to register hoping that perhaps one day I will be recruited to join the South African Police Services (SAPS), but I also came here to register because I want a voice in electing the person who can deliver services in my ward."

Elizabeth Maphanga, 68, and her friend Hendrika Tshikota, 57, were at the voting station to check their personal details on the voters' roll. 

Maphanga said: "our details are still correct. We've been participating in the voting process since the dawn of democracy in 1994 and we can't stop doing so because we need development in our area".

At Motsweding Primary School voting station it was also quite, but registration officer, Albert Malesela said the majority of voters visited the station on Saturday to re-register as they had moved house. 

"Yesterday, we saw a lot of people from Limpopo residing at the informal settlement coming in large numbers to re-register, today is quite but we are of the view that more people will come before we close at 5pm," he said. 

Even at the Simon Bekker Laer Skool voting station in Pretoria West the turn-out was very low, with the majority of people at the voting station as middle aged women and elderly people from all racial groups. 

Shortly after checking his personal details on the voters' roll, Precious Mamphwe said: "I am registering to vote because I am a South African and because there is no delivery on the ground. 

"Government officials are corrupt and they are the one's making things difficult for the masses in the country through their corrupt activities." 

First time voter, Selby Mpfuni, 35, from Nzhelele in Limpopo, went to register his name on the voters' roll hoping that he will get a job after the elections. 

"I am currently unemployed, so I strongly believe my vote can bring changes and lead me to get a job.

Just like, Jermiah Motsoeneng from Free State, Mpfuni is worried that he does not know his ward councilor.

Motsoeneng who is at his late 40s said his main problem is municipal officials at the City of Tshwane have lost contact with the masses on the ground. 

"I do not know who my ward councilor is and I've never seen that person. We have a lot of issues to share with our leaders, but they don't come down to listen to our grievances and if municipal officials from Tshwane cannot come to us before the Election Day, I might as well refrain from voting," he said. 

IEC presiding Officer at the station, Nanga Mawela said he was only concern about the low turn-out by young South Africans since the first day of the voter registration weekend. 

"We've seen more senior citizens coming to register, re-register as well as coming to verify their details on the voters' roll, with very few young people failing to come out in numbers to exercise their rights," he said. 

Presiding Officer at Jubilee Park voting station in Sunnyside, Magomane Solomon Mdluli said young people have been coming in large numbers since Saturday. All voting stations country wide will close at 5pm. - BuaNews