Before the 2019 South African general elections, several communities threatened to boycott the polls if their concerns were not addressed. Among them are towns and villages governed by the uThukela municipality, based in Ladysmith. This town in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal is the home of the world-famous choir of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the town and made many promises, and in the end, no serious boycott took place. But as Local Voices reporter Siyabonga Motha reports, months later residents say service delivery has not improved. Listen to his report below.
The campaign for the May 8 election is only a memory. MPs have taken their seats, and a new cabinet is running South Africa. A key issue in the campaign, which is still confronting the country, is around land. But a different issue may have been even more important for communities in the campaign: water. As shown by the Local Voices reporting project, many community protests focused strongly on sanitation and clean drinking water even though politicians said little on the topic. But since then, there has been little progress. Listen to Siyabonga Motha’s report, below.
Gauteng – Leader of the Black First, Land First (BLF) party, Andile Mngxitama says his party will not be going to court with other ‘smaller parties’ to dispute the election results, even though it supports their call and the grievances they’ve raised against the IEC.
Mngxitama says he is not happy with the BLF election results as he feels that his party was robbed. But, going to court is not a route they are ready to take. He says this is because South Africa’s courts, like many other institutions, are hostile to the BLF and what it represents.
He was speaking from the National Results Operations Center in Pretoria on Friday.
“We were robbed…systematically. There’s enough evidence. However, we are not going to court. We support those who are going to court. We’re not going to court because we’ve been to court since the beginning of this electoral process and we know the courts are hostile to the black agenda just like Wits University are opposed to the black agenda,” says Mngxitama.
Mngxitama adds that an election re-run would allow the BLF and other parties who’ve declared the elections as unfree and unfair, an opportunity to guard against their votes being stolen.
However, he says, it is unlikely that the courts would agree to an election re-run because they, like the IEC, are biased against any political party that doesn’t form part of the top three.
He says these parties; the ANC, DA and EFF are all just one unit designed and coached to drive the agenda of land thieves and white monopoly capital.
“A re-run will give us an opportunity to guard better the votes that were stolen. But no court is going to say yes [to an election re-run). Courts are with the one party that stands at number one, number two and number three on this board. ANC, DA and EFF are one party – a party of white monopoly capital. Our courts are also in the interest of this white monopoly capital so they are not going to allow anyone to disrupt that arrangement,” adds Mngxitama.
After 99.93 percent of the vote was counted on Saturday morning, the BLF stood at over 19,800 votes nationally. (Edited by Philile Masango)
Gauteng – Popular musician and Western Cape Province native, Ringo Madlingozi says his music has always reflected his political aspirations for his fans and supporters – the black African people.
Speaking exclusively to Local Voices from the National Results Center in Pretoria today, Madlingozi said he is elated by the performance of his political party; the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Madlingozi is on the EFF’s parliament list. This means he could be one of the people representing the party in South Africa’s sixth democratic parliament as MP.
“The seven cardinal pillars of the EFF talk to me. The dignity that EFF is talking about as a people, is what I’ve been singing about in all my music. The people who know my music will know and understand that I am right where I’m supposed to be,” said Madlingozi.
After 96% of the votes were counted on Friday evening, figures showed that the EFF had almost doubled its support from the 6% it attained in May 2014. This means the party could increase the number of parliament seats from its current 25; providing a real opportunity for Madlingozi to serve in national politics.
Madlingozi is the second popular entertainer to sit on the high ranks of the EFF. Actor Fana Mokoena, who has shared the big screen with many famed actors including Brad Pitt, became an EFF MP in 2014. (Edited by Philile Masango)
Gauteng – Head of the African Union’s Election Observer Mission to South Africa and former president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, has described South Africa’s electoral process as impressive and a model for other African countries.
Kikwete told journalists at the National Results Operations Center (ROC) that all African countries could take a leaf from the true transparency and democracy displayed by South Africa during its current election process.
Kikwete made the observation just after touring the ROC facilities in Pretoria today.
He lauded South Africa for ensuring media freedom during the elections.
“It shows the level of confidence that the Electoral Commission has, the transparency that there is, the openness that there is; it’s wonderful. No country in Africa compares to this one”, said Kikwete.
“South Africa as a nation, as we recognize it in Africa came before South Sudan; it’s the youngest democracy before South Sudan in the continent but it’s a much more developed democracy than many of the countries,” added the former Tanzania President. (Edited by Philile Masango)
The department of Home Affairs says it’s expecting a high number of human traffic today as people continue to apply for and collect their IDs and temporary ID certificates in order to vote.
Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane says they’ve witnessed a sharp increase in the number of people who’ve been visiting their offices since last Friday.
“On Monday May 6, we issued 4,226 temporary IDs. We also issued 20,939 smart cards IDs and 1,892 green bar-coded ID books.”
Home Affairs offices are open until 21h00 tonight when voting concludes. (Edited by Philile Masango)
Gauteng – Promises, promises and more promises is what South Africa’s top three political parties made at the weekend in their final national rallies held at the weekend.
The top three; the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) all held their final national rallies in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
The DA kick started the rallies in Dobsonville, Soweto on Saturday, where leader Mmusi Maimane reiterated his promise to thousands of DA supporters – that a DA government will create jobs and end corruption.
“We can choose another five years of empty promises and corruption or we can choose change,” he said to the throngs of cheering supporters who attended the #PhetogoRally.
The ANC and EFF held their rallies only a few kilometers apart on the same day; Sunday May 5. EFF supporters filled the Orlando stadium in Soweto while those of the ANC filled the Emirates Airline Park (formerly known as Ellis Park Stadium) in Johannesburg.
At the ANC’s #SiyanqobaRally president Cyril Ramaphosa promised voters that his party will not disappoint and that they can trust the ANC to restore their hopes for a better life.
“We want to rebuild this great country of ours,” Ramaphosa said.
In Soweto, at the EFF #TshelaThupaRally, leader Julius Malema repeated his party’s promise for jobs, equality; in the sharing resources, gender roles, responsibilities and freedoms, fighting crime and corruption and restoring the dignity of all South Africans, especially the poor. Malema encouraged all to vote for his party which carries the future hopes of South Africans.
“What shocks me is the number of elderly who are here in support of the EFF. The EFF Gogos know that Mandela is no more. They know he is resting peacefully in Qunu. They know the younger generation is now in the EFF,” Malema said. (Edited by Philile Masango)
To vote or not to vote? This remains a critical question for some. And for some, the answer still remains; they will not vote.
The countdown to voting and results is now a matter of days away. Over the last few weeks building up to these two critical days, campaigning by political parties has taken place amid sustained protests by voters across the country. The build up to elections has also been characterized by voters’ threats to boycott the election.
Local Voices reporter Siya Motha takes us through some of the community protests reported to have taken place across South Africa. The following package was made possible by reporters from the following community radio stations;
- Alex FM in Gauteng province,
- Inanda FM in KwaZulu-Natal province,
- Makhado FM in Limpopo province,
- Nqubeko FM in KwaZulu-Natal provice,
- Sekhukhune FM in Limpopo province,
- Star FM in North West province,
- Vibe FM in KwaZulu-Natal province and
- Vhembe FM in Limpopo province.
President of the African National Congress (ANC) promised to build houses for the residents of Alexander in Johannesburg. His visit comes after a series of protests in the area with residents demanding housing and improved service delivery.
Ramaphosa told the residents that their concerns had been heard and he will instruct, Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to meet with Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba to map a way forward. The president said that it was a shame that Alex residents had to leave with rats in this day and age.
The ANC president was speaking outside the Alexander stadium where he was addressing the residents. He was due to do a door to door campaign which was cancelled due to lack of time.
It is also anticipated that the Democratic Alliance (DA), will be visiting the area on Monday. #Alexshutdown protests have spread across the country.
(Edited by Simbarashe Honde)
In a broadcast election debate, Durban-based Vibe FM turned its attention to the question of local arts funding.
African National Congress representative Amanda Bhani was asked why the eThekwini Municipality and other municipalities in KwaZulu Natal don’t have proper policy on the funding of art. In response, Bunny said the city of eThekwini had drafted an arts policy that is being circulated for discussion with stakeholders.
The Democratic Alliance’s Nicole Graham accused the local ANC would claim there is little money available for arts and culture, but this is not the case. She added that unfunded mandates only means that it’s not listed as competency of the municipality.
Msizi Mkhize of Black First Land First (BLF) said that the art industry in South Africa is not taken seriously. He added that the private sector in the arts is owned by white people and this is why they run activities everywhere. Mkhize said money is only allocated to well-developed areas.
The National Freedom Party’s Skhumbuzo Sibisi stated that art and culture should be associated with tourism so artists can been exposed to different people who visit the country. He also added that positions in the art department are given to people who do not know anything about the industry.
The ANC also emphasized that they are not focused on mainstream art issues but they are more focused on local art as they use local centres to minimize cost.
Other political parties were invited but they did not arrive.