I’ve been up for two hours and just like on any day I decided to go through social networks to see what people were saying about going to the polls today. I realised that some of my friends had woken up before the polling stations opened to cast their ballots and elect local leaders – some of them were even saying who they are planning to vote for.
I am however still confused on who to vote for. I am leaving the house in a few minutes and I hope the drive to the polling station will give me a sign. I will look at their election posters but I have looked at them time and time again and I think none really speak to me.
I also have realised that certain political organisations have gone through an interesting rebranding process with the Democratic Alliance’s Helen Zille choosing to put on long blue skirts at times and dancing with locals in black townships – I’m not sure if she should have as it didn’t seem authentic enough. The media didn’t seem to criticise her as much as it ridiculed President Jacob Zuma for doing the same before he took over the reins of this country.
There are three women of three different races on DA’s election posters, but I don’t think they capture the majority of South Africans. When one hears the DA’s Johannesburg mayoral candidate speak, Mmusi Maimane or one of the three golden girls, Lindiwe (Lynn-Dee-Way) Mazibuko they would swear it’s an elitist party that only caters for people of the upper class which then alienates the majority of South Africans.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress seemed to have dealt well with the toilets that backfired on them after it blew the whistle on the DA in the Western Cape. Their Free State toilet saga made headline news and then they owned up to the mistake and mentioned how they would deal with messy business of toilets. The ANC needs to rethink its future strategy though. It has been using its struggle credential for far too long and tends to alienate some of us who didn’t grow up under apartheid as we are looking into the future and want to contribute towards the prosperity of this country. It hasn’t told me how it can work with me – a young, Model C and private school educated black South African. I understand that they need to talk to the people in informal settlements and other poor areas of South Africa. I spend a lot of time in Soshanguve and have realised that the ANC will win there but many say they will stay away from the polls this time around as they are still neglected with streets littered with garbage that is seldom collected. I also realised that many in Kliptown, Soweto are also complaining about a lack of electricity and still use the bucket system for toilets.
The Inkatha Freedom Party has always been a regional KwaZulu-Natal Party but its constituency in my home province has been diminishing. In 2009 the IFP was gaining ground in this province as it was using Zululand leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi. She managed to grow the party’s popularity with the youth and women but that didn’t make party leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, happy. She was a threat and that led some to suggest that perhaps the IFP wasn’t looking for a woman for party leader and perhaps Rev. Musa Zondi is the only person earmarked to take over from Buthelezi. After many squabble kaMagwaZa-Msibi eventually left the party to start her own National Freedom Party.
I haven’t seen that many NFP posters outside KwaZulu-Natal but have come across a few NFP-branded minibus taxis in Johannesburg with predominantly young and female supporters inside.
The Congress of the People arrived during National elections, had power struggles, lost a few members and now they are hardly anywhere to be seen.
The Freedom Front Plus has just come across as a party of racists during ANC Youth League President, Julius Malema’s, court case as they were complaining about his singing of the song ‘Kill the Boer’. Malema came out clean and showed them as a bunch of racists who probably didn’t want apartheid to end – they are still around so clearly some South Africans agree with the Freedom Front Plus.
I haven’t heard much of Bantu Holomisa and his United Democratic Movement this time around.
Surprisingly the African Christian Democratic Party was more visible in 2011 but they still only appeal to die-hard Christians. As I leave the house I have to think carefully on who deserves my vote and it will be a tough decision as they all have their flaws. Newbies often have great plans but we have seen that they don’t live up to the hype in South Africa.
I’m glad that social networks seem to be doing their part in getting the people out there though. It’s time to head to my polling station.