Monday, April 25, 2011

First Time Voter Believes Political Party Promises Not Achievable

Sthembiso Sithole

Agriculture minister, Tina Joemat-Petterson
faced a tough crowd over the weekend.
South Africans are going to vote for their municipal leaders on May 18 and as usual around election time political parties are out in full force mobilising people to vote for them on the day. I qualify to vote for the first time this year and I must make my choices carefully so I have conducted my own research.

Adequate housing, running water and sanitation are always at the top of the agenda for the poor and promises to improve these are often made by those running to be elected.

Ahead of the elections South Africans have seen newspaper headlines such as: ‘SA’s poor fed up with waiting for houses services’ coupled with the wave of protests have been seen and heard from the media sources. In the Northern Cape one community walked out of a speech by agriculture minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, with residents saying they are tired of being spoken down to and thought this was their chance to have a conversation with the ANC minister.

This means there is a huge conflict between the government and the citizens they claim to serve.

Many still call these shacks homes.
Many places such as Diepsloot and Kliptown in Gauteng, Ficksburg in the Free State, Khayelitsha in the Western Cape and Kwamhlanga in Mpumalanga lack service delivery and some of these areas have seen residents take to the streets to raise their voices about this.

At the local level, a study conducted in three major cities found that satisfaction with local government performance is substantially higher among white than black voters. Yet in all three cities, black voters overwhelmingly support the majority party and white vote for the opposition.

There are many questions that should be considered before going to the polls. Which areas lack service delivery; What people are expecting; What political parties have been promising then and now in the billboards, posters, websites; and most important in their manifesto. Are the plans achievable?

The government says it’s planning to improve the lives for the poor but squatter Ntombi Khumalo on a report by Mail& Guardian says she has moved from shack to shack over the past decade.

Khumalo is one of the people who live in informal settlement's north of Johannesburg, where there is inadequate electricity availability with hundreds of residents shaing one water tap and communal toilets.

The failure for some municipalities to deliver services
has resulted in protest marches.
The question that we should ask is why it took the government so long to come up with this law which is set to improve the lives of the poor, how is the plan going to be implemented or it is one of those empty promises that they make when it comes “silly season” election time.

One of the readers of the Timeslive wrote to the publication sayin residents who took to the streets of Fickburg had no option as there hadn’t been adequate service delivery with inadequate water supplied to the area.

That shows that people are fed up with empty promises and poor service delivery.

Unfortunately the ANC has been making a lot of promises over the years which were not achievable. Expectations were created but there is a lack of capacity and commitment when it is time to deliver.

Well you have seen and heard how the ruling party and other parties are making noise on why South Africans should vote for them. Well I took time to view their manifestos was not surprised to see that nothing has changed in their list of promises but only the wording in places.

The ANC was my first option for obvious reasons. It describes their manifesto as clear and achievable. “Our program is based on clear objectives and achievable plans.” It requires:

• Continued democratisation of our society based on equality, non-racism and non-sexism

• national unity in diversity which is the source of our strength, building achievements and the experiences since 1994

• an equitable sustainable, and inclusive growth path that brings decent work and sustainable livelihoods; education; health; safe and service communities; and rural development;

• targeted programs for the youth

• women, works, rural masses and people with disabilities and

• a better African and a better world.

It further continues to say that residents have gained the power to take part to elect representatives who will promote their interests.

Just on that first point, one could argue how the ANC democratising society on equality, non-racism and non-sexism. Second how is the ANC youth President Julius Malema uniting, strengthening and building the achievements since 1994 with his hate speech song kill the boer....

Which growth path that created jobs for the youth and which areas benefited from it.

Are this representatives doing their duties or travailing using the state money and are they ever held accountable.

Power service delivery is caused by corrupt, in competent, uncaring leadership, who lack skills in assessment, visionary thinking, effective planning and implementing.

How can I forget the number one opposition party the Democratic Alliance. They say that “Our dream to South Africa is often an open opportunity society in which every person is free, secure and equal, where everyone has the opportunity to improve the quality of his life and pursue his dreams, and in which every language and culture equally respected and recognised”

How is Zille expecting people to trust her after what she did at Khayelitsha, Cape town with the toilet that were not covered? She was also in Port Elizabeth where she was dancing in attempt to get votes from the electorate.

The Inkatha Freedom Party says “Together you and I will hold IFP councillors accountable for their action.” Don’t you think they are saying that to impress you (voter) to get your vote?

While everyone is promising, the UDM welcomes former members and councillors from the DA and ANC. Hopeful that will get them more votes.

As I conclude, all political parties do their best to mobilise you (citizens) to vote for them. What you have to know and understand is that the country has limited resources. There leaders that will represent you will have access to those resources. There more you put them in power, the more they will have access to those resources. That is why you will forever complain.

As you prepare to go to the poll if you registered please think critically before voting and remember no vote no complain.

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