Disheartened by social ills, some Diepsloot residents vow not to vote

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While scores of South Africans gear up to cast their ballots on May 29, some Diepsloot residents in the north of Johannesburg have vowed to boycott the elections because they feel neglected by government.

They say there’s too much crime in the township and not much is being done to address it.

They are also raising concerns over poor service delivery such as a lack of streetlights and other services.

Crime, lack of service delivery

Not so long ago, Diepsloot made headlines when it was marred by a series of violent crimes.

This includes an incident where congregants were ambushed, and a preacher was shot dead.

This prompted Police Minister Bheki Cele to visit the area and deploy the police’s Tactical Response Team (TRT unit).

Speaking to SABC News, an 18-year-old who was supposed to go cast a ballot for the first time says it’s pointless to vote because nothing much has changed.

The boy outlined his fears about safety within the community, adding that he is not able to report the people doing the crime because it is pointless.

Other residents lamenting service delivery say there is no need to vote because services are not being rendered to them, adding that the high crime rate is also perpetuated by high levels of unemployment.

“Nothing new”

Tshwane University of Technology political analyst, Levi Ndou, says this is not something new.

He says when people feel like they have been neglected for some time, they tend to not see the need for them to participate in the elections as they end up not getting what they need or request.

“The people of Diepsloot have been the victims of crime, violence and to a certain extent, neglect by the law enforcement agencies. And anything that they raise which has to do with their safety and security, they expect government and law enforcement agencies to act very quickly because many lives have been lost in those areas.”

Ndou says there are different reasons as to why people choose to participate or abstain from voting.

“There are people who associate democracy and the right to vote with service delivery. And to them anything that they see which is bad, they see it as the bad side of democracy. And anything which they see that is good they see it as the right side of democracy. So, it’s not surprising that you would get people who would say they would not exercise their right to vote because there are certain things that they expected from government and such things are not happening.”

Related video: Calm restored to Diepsloot after two days of violent protests