Maverick Citizen

ROCKY ROAD TO 2024 ELECTIONS OP-ED

Limpopo villagers along the D3810 say no to voter registration

Limpopo villagers along the D3810 say no to voter registration
The D3810 connects Khakhala, Gawula, Mahlathi, Ndindani and Hlomela. (Photo: Supplied)

The #NoRoadNoVote campaign is gaining momentum, which is more than can be said for vehicles on the D3810 road linking the villages of Khakhala, Gawula, Mahlathi, Ndindani and Hlomela.

Ahead of the recent voter registration drive, a woman in my neighbouring village of Khakhala started a WhatsApp group called #NoXikontiriNoVote (no tar road, no vote). In under 24 hours the group grew to about 480 participants.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections loading — residents of Mahlathi Village in Limpopo say #NoRoadNoVote

The young woman who started the group, Tiyiselani Khumbudza, was soon interviewed by the SABC, and she took the host through the reasons for her call for a boycott – the broken promises to rebuild the roads and improve village life. The promises of 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022… the promises of every ANC official, up to and including former deputy presidents David Mabuza and the current mayor of the greater Giyani Municipality, Thandi Zitha. 

Zitha had addressed poor road infrastructure during an imbizo at Ndindani village early this year and told residents that “there are plans to tar the main road that links five villages in the area. This is not a promise, I’m just telling you that preparations have already started to tar the road by the next financial year.” 

Debates raged on the #NoXikontiriNoVote WhatsApp group about whether and how to shut the registration stations. Some were for it, others feared arrest. Tiyiselani stayed firm, continuing to encourage others not to be afraid. Taking the lead, she suggested residents approach the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) registration stations together, peacefully, asking the IEC staff to leave, and closing the gates.

Tiyiselani worked tirelessly to arrange transport and plan visits to registration stations in Hlomela, Ndindani, my village of Mahlathi, Gawula and her own village of Khakhala. 

With no youth vote, it seems to me our future will be decided by the older generation, who state that they will not vote for any other political party but the ANC.

She communicated on the group and tried to keep people motivated, even trying to arrange bakkies herself. But because the campaign was organised only a few days before the registration drive, because of a lack of resources to get people together (thanks in part to the state of our D3810 road!) and because of people’s safety concerns, it was difficult to coordinate. 

In the end she could only muster a few people, and when this group arrived at the gates of Giva Mahlathi High School, the site of the registration drive in my village, ANC members refused them entry. 

Limpopo voter

Tiyiselani Khumbudza. (Photo: Supplied)

Low voter registration and youth antipathy

While not many on the #NoXikontiriNoVote WhatsApp group turned up in person to help Tiyiselani shut down the IEC station, they seem to have sent a message by staying home during the weekend registration push. I believe only 15 people in Mahlathi registered to vote. 

Other villages nearby recorded just five people.

When I spoke to her, it was clear that Tiyiselani has very little faith in new parties like BOSA and Rise Mzansi to change the prospects for young people, and bring real benefits like new roads. Voting for these parties, she said, “would be like starting from scratch, and they would be ill-equipped to bring real leadership and bring the services we need. Better to let the ANC, who created the problems, rectify them.” 

In her view, the best strategy is to protest or to boycott the ruling party until it gives us what it promised. In a roundabout way, it points to a faith she still has in the ruling party to mend its ways.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Appeal to people of Giyani: ANC in power risks our safety, future 

People I talk to have a similar lack of faith in new political parties. They are sceptical of Mmusi Maimane’s BOSA, seeing it as a DA-backed attempt to attract black voters. 

Rise Mzansi is maybe too new to even be considered by my neighbours. 

Others have lost hope in voting altogether – to them, political parties are only visible when they want us to vote for them, and during times of struggle, they are not around.

My own visits to villages around Mahlathi confirms that the majority of young people didn’t go out and register on the weekend registration drive. With no youth vote, it seems to me our future will be decided by the older generation, who state that they will not vote for any other political party but the ANC. These older voters are afraid that if they don’t vote ANC, they will lose their grants. 

Changing the attitudes of those who lived through apartheid is not “pap and vleis”. It’s up to young people to make a change. We would do well to remember that during our parents’ lifetime, there were those who had a belief in the National Party – younger people of that generation had to work to change attitudes. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections loading — residents of Mahlathi Village in Limpopo say #NoRoadNoVote

Young people today need to do the same work, but first we need to believe it ourselves that we can make a change. 

“Wake up!! Wake up, young people of Limpopo, be smart!! Be smart, be like Rabbit. There is no time for oppression, now we live in a democratic country. They have oppressed our parents in the past. But for us it shouldn’t be.

“Let’s reject it, reject oppression by registering to vote and vote wisely, differently and make your voice heard. We are the future and the future is us.”

Until that happens, calls for registration and voting boycotts will grow. As I write this, in the #NoXikontiriNoVote WhatsApp group, people are saying the campaign was a success. Now they are preparing a stronger protest for February, when the next voter registration opens. DM

Israel Nkuna is a ward committee representative at Ward 19, Giyani Limpopo, a community activist, human rights activist, social grants activist and writer. He will be writing monthly articles about election 2024 painting pictures in his villages and the entire Giyani. You may contact him on this email: [email protected]

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Big Bronco says:

    This women is doing the country no good. The ANC has had 30 years of disasterous miss rule and ANY party, other than the ANC and the EFF, deserves an opportunity. Other parties really couldn’t do much worse. The threat to the ANC would be far greater if she encouraged people to vote for the moonshot alliance parties and enouraged them to register to vote and to actually vote. She does not understand democracy.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Hi Tiyiselani, you sound like a lady who cares but sadly what you are doing is not going to help you or the people you love.

    If you truly want to improve your life, forget the ANC, they are busy destroying our country. Be brave, change your thinking and vote for the DA. They are for all our people.

  • Jacki McInnes says:

    Tha ANC is incapable of fixing what it has destroyed. There’s absolutely no point in barking up that tree. Vote for one of the Moonshot parties and create the opportunity for real improvement in SA

    • Israel Nkuna says:

      “Wake up!! Wake up, young people of Limpopo, be smart!! Be smart, be like Rabbit. There is no time for oppression, now we live in a democratic country. They have oppressed our parents in the past. But for us it shouldn’t be.

      “Let’s reject it, reject oppression by registering to vote and vote wisely, differently and make your voice heard. We are the future and the future is us.”

  • Ben Harper says:

    No Brain – No Pain

  • Cross Nzama Mashele says:

    The Xinkontiri saga has emmineted a lot of problems. Let’s vote for change in 2024 May. ANC needs to be relegated from its helm. We might even suggest the extreme hot condition is caused by ANC. Fellow South Africans, we are in turmoil. If ANC wins in 2024, we will be like Zimbabwe . Let’s wake up vote for change .

  • Celebrate Nsovo Chauke says:

    Thank you so much, Sesi Tiyiselani, for speaking out for our communities, and to the Author for ensuring that our voices are heard… We’ve been crying about Road ever since, and ANC has been promising us things but not delivering

  • Lehlogonolo Magope says:

    Youth should register to vote and vote out anc

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