WITH the general election a scant one month away, voters are rightly becoming vitally interested in the power of their vote, and what it can mean to their lives and fortunes. In recent months, research has shown that many South Africans, while realising the importance of that vital cross which they will make on the ballot paper on May 7, have been asking questions about whether this is a local government election, that is “can the ruling party be unseated in the metro in May?”.
The short answer is no. This year, it is a general election, where every vote counts towards seats in parliament (the National Assembly) and province (provincial legislature).
These votes are no less vital than those we will cast in 2016, when it is a local government election and where fortunes can change through the ballot box. Then, indeed, it is entirely possible that the ANC of Jacob Zuma will have to relinquish the reins to a DA-led local government in the Nelson Mandela Municipality.
What is needed from all voters? How can just one vote make a difference?
In the 2005 local government elections in an Eastern Cape town, there was a tie in a particular ward. The story goes that one of the volunteers working in a DA office had been so busy phoning voters to encourage them to go to vote that she did not go to cast her own vote.
The election result had to be decided by the toss of a coin! This story is verified by the leader of the DA in the legislature, Athol Trollip, who witnessed the event.
Another anecdote to encourage voters to get out and vote concerns Cape Town, where Helen Zille won the mayoral contest by just one vote.
If you live in what you consider a “safe DA ward” it doesn’t mean that you can stay away from the polling booth. Every single vote counts in the pool of votes and can be the tipping point of the balance of power.
If you want change in the metro, use your power. Use your vote for change, for jobs, for clean administration.
This year is hugely important as the precursor to 2016.
What does that tell us? Whatever you do on Wednesday May 7, go to cast that vote. Your one vote can move mountains.
Bernice Wright, DA councillor, Nelson Mandela Metro