On Tuesday the 30th of April, MVC in partnership with the Democracy Development Program and Social Justice Coalition held a community-focused discussion at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha. About 50 participants mostly from informal settlements joined us in a sobering discussion about elections and the significance of voting.
Living informal settlements and faced with poor service delivery, some like Khayelitsha resident Masande see no reason to vote. However, there are those like Nosipho from Island who believe that voting is important in order to hold politicians to account when they do not deliver as they promise. Said Nosipho: “Let us vote. We live in squalor with no services. As a result of poor sanitation, we have rats and suffer from diarrhoea and other illnesses. It is painful, but let’s vote so we can hold them accountable.”
Other participants said that they have explored various mechanisms such as marches and pickets to get the City of Cape Town to deliver services to them. They add that these marches have lost their effect on our leaders and no longer change anything; they say they are normally met with violence from the state even when they march peacefully.
My Vote Counts wishes to further engage with communities in an effort to try and foster a culture where citizens realise their power to hold public representatives to account.
WATCH: How some of the Western Cape residents who joined us feel about parties’ manifestos, the upcoming elections and the significance of their vote.
My Vote Counts NPC is a non-profit company founded to improve the accountability, transparency and inclusiveness of elections and politics in the Republic of South Africa. We work to ensure that the political and electoral systems are open, fair and accountable to the public and that they remain relevant in the changing South African socio-political context.