Kouga residents vote while Matatiele residents boycott polls

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Committed to exercise their democratic right, residents of the Kouga Municipality braved wet weather. Kouga municipality is home to just under 100 000 people. It includes the towns of Humansdorp, Hankey and Jeffrey’s Bay.

Tourism and agriculture are the biggest employers, but these sectors are not providing enough jobs and unemployment is a big problem. Residents say that they are voting for change.

“We want our houses. We want schools for our kids. I want all of us to stand together. We haven’t got water or electricity. We are voting for these things to change,” says a voter.

Voters in the small town of Patensie are hoping for improved living conditions. “My vote, I’m hoping to bring a better life for farm workers without rent and with benefits.”

Election fever also gripped the surfing mecca of Jeffrey’s Bay. Some even delayed their early morning session to vote. However, not everyone was positive and some young people didn’t vote.

“I can’t choose a lesser evil. There is no party that will represent my needs. I’m a cum laude graduate and I still don’t have a job.”

Like the rest of the country, the people of Kouga await the results with bated breath.

Voters in Maapoleng choose poll boycott 

Residents of Maapoleng village near Matatiele, in the Eastern Cape, boycotted the poll in protest against poor service delivery. Elderly villagers gathered near a voting station, lamenting the lack of housing, clean water and sanitation, as well as poor roads.

This polling station has 121 registered voters. Only two people cast their ballots as the rest of the village abstained. Community leader, Ramanka Makhetha, says that they have been told that there is no budget for water and sanitation in the area.

“Our problem is water and sanitation; and we were told there is budget for that. The services have come to the nearby villages, it shows that it’s true that there is budget for that.”

Attempts to persuade disgruntled residents to vote failed. Alfred Nzo Municipality Mayor, Polelo Mohale, says that they have a budget for a water project in the area.

“We budgeted a multi-million Rands for the water project. Phase one collapsed because of a service provider we had to fire them and they took us to court … We have allocated R10 million to the initiatives.”

There was also a community protest in a nearby village.

Watch SABC Election Coverage: