Final election results countdown begins after mixed voter turnout
Now we wait
From as early as 4am on Wednesday, some rushed to voting stations across Nelson Mandela Bay, while others seemingly boycotted a national poll billed as a defining moment in South Africa’s political history.
Now, with the tallying of the votes in full swing, the countdown begins to the final results announcement on Saturday.
From voters all round, the overwhelming message was clear – they want jobs, a growing economy and a government committed to fighting crime.
While the Electoral Commission (IEC) was yet to determine the total voter turnout in Nelson Mandela Bay late on Wednesday, early indications suggested that voters in wards 1 to 10, mostly suburban areas, came out in their numbers, while in many other parts of the metro the turnout was poor.
“We have noted that in the township areas it seems it was poorer,” IEC regional supervisor Crosby Bacela said.
“I am not 100% sure why, but I think the weather today contributed to that.”
Strong winds and heavy rain led to the collapse of four voting stations housed in tents in Zwide, Khayamnandi, Kwazakhele and Kwa-Nobuhle.
The voters were then moved to nearby structures to cast their ballots.
Apart from the weather factor, political analyst Ongama Mtimka said the possible decline in voter numbers could also be attributed to a trend of historical stayaway protests.
“In the past two elections, people decided not to vote when given the choice to vote for their party or the opposition,” he said.
This was because while the voters had lost faith in their party, they did not trust the opposition enough to vote for them.
“There have been a number of reports that showed this trend would continue.
“One, there is a stayaway that is linked to the ANC that has been largely the governing party.
“Then there is a stayaway that can be attributed to the lack of trust in the formal political system – such as voting as a solution to problems.”
Motherwell NU 29 resident Zoleka Ntlokwana – despite feeling despondent about the future – woke up at 4am to join a snaking queue of voters at the nearby Methodist church.
“I have lost hope. Our government is failing and that’s why I’m voting,” she said.
Living in a community that is often the site of mass protests and poor basic services, Ntlokwana said she believed her vote was her voice and she would stand in the queue all day if she had to.
Alongside her, Siphokazi Nkohla, 52, vowed it would be her last time voting.
Sitting hopelessly on a 20litre bucket in the long queue, Nkohla said she was tired of listening to the “empty promises by the government, by these politicians”.
“I am really tired of these lies my political party has been spewing, but I am here to vote for them one last time.
“If nothing changes, I will stop,” she said.
Nkohla said she had boycotted the 2016 municipal elections but was hoping for change this time around.
“We have been voting since 25 years ago, yet they haven’t delivered on the promises they make every time they campaign for votes.
“We want houses and land and we continue to vote in hopes that they will deliver.
“But I am giving up if nothing changes after this election.”
Ahlumile Nkume, 19, a firstyear student at Nelson Mandela University, had one message for President Cyril Ramaphosa: “Get your act together. This is the last chance I’m giving you.”
Rochelle Maart, of Mountain View in Uitenhage, said rampant corruption was limiting the government from creating jobs.
Maart said the winning party must view all South African residents as equals and must do more to help the unemployed find jobs.
“For me, despite having a matric certificate, you are required to have experience or a college qualification.
“So, instead, you end up working in a shop,” she said.
“In the Eastern Cape, gangsterism and crime are getting worse by the day.
“If people have proper jobs, maybe this would become less.”
Small business owner Jerome Trout, 51, who voted in Mountain View, said: “I grew up in the apartheid regime and those memories will always be there.”
Trout said, as a business owner, the winning government would need to look at policies to help South Africans establish small enterprises.
Nomvuzo Jamjam, 24, of Blikkiesdorp, said she had been unemployed since leaving school five years ago and was tired of being overlooked by the ruling party.
“I am voting for the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party and I am placing my trust in them because our leader, Mr Irvin Jim, said that the party’s main goal was to help the youth find work.
“I haven’t had a job since leaving school in 2014, but I am still responsible for looking after my four younger siblings and my child.”
- Additional reporting by Hendrick Mphande and Gareth Wilson