Schools were out on Wednesday because it was Election Day in South Africa. I spent the day trying to understand exactly what that means.
I learned that this year's vote was a municipality vote, meaning new mayor's for each city and National Assembly. The voter goes to the designated voting place and submits their vote for one political party. The votes were mostly between the ANC (African National Congress) and the DA (Democratic Alliance).
This election is important because this is the only vote that the citizens participate in. The National Assembly will elect the next president in 2018. Therefore, if the public wants the next president to represent the DA, they need to vote in the DA to represent their city.
Now, I will give you a list of thoughts that need to be considered during this election:
- In the 1950s, during Apartheid, neighborhoods were built according to skin color. This is still how it looks today. You can find pictures and a quick description on Mrs. Johnson's blog at: CharlotteSouthAfrica.blogspot.com. There is no running water in some of the shacks, no electricity and in most cases, no inside toilets.
- The majority of the people in townships are of the Xhosa tribe where they still practice many rituals. One of which is appeasing their ancestors. Some voters believe that they will anger their ancestors if they vote against the ANC- Mandela's party.
- The current president, and most mayors, are apart of the ANC. Right now, this is a very crooked group. President Zuma owes the taxpayers about 7 million Rand for taking it to build onto his personal home.
- There is an underlying fear that if the ANC is not in office, Apartheid will happen again.
- Young voters realize there needs to be a change- tuition is high and graduates can't find jobs.
Votes are still being counted, but it looks like the country is voting for the ANC, although Port Elizabeth has changed their majority vote from the ANC to DA.
I am still waiting to hear about the results from Johannesburg. This is a city with the largest township in the country. The ANC was incredibly confident that they would win in this highly populated city, but as of now, the DA is winning by a few hundredths of a point.
There needs to be major changes still to come in South Africa. I am unsure of which political party will be the answer to continue their revolution from 20 years ago, but I am hopeful that this election is a push towards the right direction.