- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Voting gets underway in municipal elections
- Date: 19th May 2011
- Summary: KHAYELITSHA NEAR CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MAY 18, 2011) (REUTERS) SUN RISING OVER MOUNTAINS NEAR KHAYELITSHA VOTING STATION VOTER ARRIVES AT POLLING STATION VARIOUS OF VOTERS IN QUEUE AT POLLING STATION INTERIOR OF POLLING STATION VARIOUS OF POLICE WATCHING VARIOUS OF VOTERS GETTING READY TO VOTE AT POLLING STATION VOTER STANDING BEHIND VOTING CUBICLE VOTER DROPPING BALLOT PAPER INTO BOX (SOUNDBITE) (English) KHAYELITSHA RESIDENT, DORRIS LUSU, SAYING: "I feel so good I'm coming for my vote for my councillor." (SOUNDBITE) (English) KHAYELITSHA RESIDENT, MZUKISI SOKANI, SAYING: "I'm feeling very, very happy hoping that by casting my vote, obviously towards changing lives of South Africans, you know." POLLING STATION SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA (MAY 18, 2011) (REUTERS) POLLING STATION SEWAGE WATER RUNNING ACROSS THE STREET PILE OF GARBAGE NEAR POLLING STATION PEOPLE QUEUING TO VOTE MORE OF PEOPLE QUEUING UP INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION (IEC) BANNER (SOUNDBITE) (English) (SOWETO RESIDENT, ADELINE NDLANZI, SAYING: "I am voting because I want to change where I am staying, it is very dirty, there is no toilets, there is no life here, there is waters (sewage) flowing around, no whatever." PAN ALONG: PEOPLE QUEUING UP AT POLLING STATION (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOWETO RESIDENT, STEVEN MALULEKE, SAYING: "I want to see changes, I want to see toilets, we don't have toilets, you see the streets, you see the water pouring all over the streets you can see, you see the hump (referring to garbage) plenty of mkhumkhu (shacks) we want to see the changes, and we want to get a better life." MORE OF PEOPLE, OLD LADIES QUEUING INTERIOR POLLING STATION IEC OFFICIALS CHECKING DOCUMENTS AND SCANNING THEM IEC OFFICIAL PUTTING INK ON A VOTER BALLOT PAPER BEING STAMPED VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CASTING THEIR VOTES
- Embargoed: 3rd June 2011 13:00
- Location: South Africa, South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA78BE31MS40XN3TPZK1FQUFMCX
- Story Text: South Africans on Wednesday (May 18) began voting in municipal elections in which squalid unenclosed toilets built for the country's poor have become a potent symbol of local government neglect.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled since apartheid ended 17 years ago, is expected to storm to victory given the public esteem it still enjoys for bringing down white-minority rule.
But the ANC and its leader, President Jacob Zuma, could be embarrassed by any gains for the major opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which runs Cape Town and has campaigned as the party that can deliver municipal services.
Polling stations opened at 0500 GMT and will remain open until 1700 GMT.
Cape Town residents queued on Wednesday to cast their votes at the local government elections.
Khayelitsha is an informal settlement just outside Cape Town, and the residents voted with the hope of improving their poor living conditions.
"I'm feeling very, very happy hoping that by casting my vote, obviously towards changing lives of South Africans, you know," said Khayelitsha resident Mzukisi Sokani.
It was a very slow start at some polling stations in Soweto. In a squatter settlement in the Meadowlands area of South Africa's biggest black township, voters patiently queued for hours ahead of the polls opening.
Adeline Ndlanzi, 58, standing outside a polling station in a tent among shacks and piles of rubbish in Meadowlands, said she wanted change.
"I am voting because I want to change where I am staying, it is very dirty, there is no toilets, there is no life here, there is waters (sewage) flowing around, no whatever," said Adeline Ndlanzi, after casting her vote in Meadowlands Hostel.
Former wife of Nelson Mandela and ANC stalwart, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, will be among many who will be voting in Soweto.
"I want to see changes, I want to see toilets, we don't have toilets, you see the streets, you see the water pouring all over the streets you can see, you see the hump (referring to garbage) plenty of mkhumkhu (shacks) we want to see the changes, and we want to get a better life" said another Soweto resident, Steven Maluleke.
What once appeared as a dull race for control of 278 municipalities, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria, has heated up in recent days as a row over unenclosed toilets, whose users are exposed to full public view, has dominated headlines and TV broadcasts.
The ANC scored political points a few months ago when it found the DA had not built walls around public toilets in shantytowns in an area it controlled.
But it came under fire when it was revealed just before the vote to have done the same, with a local ANC official being paid state funds despite the shoddy construction.
Since Zuma took power in 2009, the ANC has faced violent protests from its traditional base of poor blacks.
Many are frustrated with the slow delivery of electricity, sanitation, functioning schools and basic health care since the country's first all-race election in 1994.
Some were expected to show their anger by either not voting or doing what was unthinkable a few years ago: casting a vote for the DA, a party once associated with white privilege and now trying to reinvent itself as providing good governance for all.
The election may show the ANC is vulnerable, but it could take decades before a viable alternative will challenge it.
Key numbers to watch for will be any fall in the support for the ANC, which had about 67 percent of the total vote in the last municipal race in 2006, and any gains in support for the DA, which scored about 14 percent in 2006.
Any decline in voter turnout, which was 48.4 percent in 2006, or gains by the DA in major urban areas, would deal a heavy blow to Zuma and could undermine him and embolden his rivals in the highly splintered ruling party.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None