Tomorrow should hopefully see around 26 million South Africans heading to the poll stations to vote for our national municipal elections. While these elections affect the majority of us in a more personal manner — since we’ll be voting individual ward councillors into local power, the people who will be handling our day-to-day issues on the ground — the effects of it will influence the national and provincial elections when they happen, potentially reforming the political path of our country.
As a voter, I am thinking along the lines of how can my vote really make a difference versus which party I should align with. I’ve traditionally been rather apolitical, allowing the system to flow as it needs to. This has also been a rather apathetic approach that I’m unfortunately not alone in taking. In recent years I have popped into the polling stations, doing my small bit to start turning the tide. My understanding is that democracy is great on paper but in reality it is flawed because the voting populace are not all on equal standing, not of equal intelligence and wisdom, not all properly informed and can be easily swayed by good marketing. Just like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola and virtually every cigarette brand still garner support from the vast majority, despite so many being aware of their unhealthiness, so to will the better marketed politician grab the support of most, whether these politicians really care about our concerns. Because, ultimately, more people act from their heart than the head, and can be swayed with the appropriately targeted lobby.
While this may be a bit of a controversial thought, I do think that if we were all able to step back and look at the situation objectively and critically, doing the necessary research and evaluating our options, we would be better able to make a mark that is truly in our best interest and not necessarily serving the party or person with the best campaign. The Electoral Commission’s website is a place to start by reading the FAQs and going over the available candidates. Ideally, we need to look at our individual wards, evaluating whether we have been happy with the service and leadership in the last five years, and vote accordingly for the available candidates. It’s certainly not an easy process, requiring some responsibility and long-term considerations on our part, but I reckon we’re up for the task. 🙂
But, of course, these are my personal views, and how the rest of the country decides makes their choice is entirely theirs 😉
So here’s looking forward to tomorrow when, hopefully, a large percentage of eligible voters (if not ALL eligible voters) will step forward, enjoying our constitutional right to cast a free, fair, and peaceful vote, intelligently shaping our country for the better. See you at the polls, bating my breath in hope of positive transformation.