Voters queueing at Blackpool Sports Centre in Salt River to cast their vote on Monday.
Voters queueing at Blackpool Sports Centre in Salt River to cast their vote on Monday.

Elderly voters brave elements to make their mark

By Siphokazi Vuso, Odwa Mkentane, Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Nov 2, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - At 79-years-old, Mfuleni resident Nomatshezi Mlisa braved the bad weather on Monday to make her mark at the polls, despite saying that she had lost hope in ever getting the home she has been fighting for since 1996.

The Covid-19 informal settlement resident arrived at the Mfuleni High School voting station on Monday just after 10am.

“I came to vote and it is a good thing because you get the chance to meet people from different political parties where we engage each other on many things. We have one thing in common, which is hoping for the better for our country and community. It does not matter what political party people vote for, as long as they vote for the party that they think will bring change.

“The main thing that affects us as black people in the townships is infrastructure. I have been waiting for a house since 1996, when I first came to this province. I used to live in Philippi before I moved to Mfuleni, with the hope that I might get something, but nothing has changed. Instead, things are getting worse, with unemployment and a high rate of crime. I now live with my children, I have given up the hope of the house,” said Mlisa.

Meanwhile, disheartened elderly Salt River residents, who have lived in the suburb for decades, say time is running out and something needs to change.

Casting their votes at the Blackpool Sports Centre on Monday the emotional pensioners said they were “fed up” with homelessness and the crime that the area has become notorious for.

Anne Davids, 65, who arrived at the voting station with her husband, who uses a wheelchair, said she saw no reason to vote.

Davids was born in Salt River.

“I came here to bring my husband, he wants to vote. But I will not vote. What are all these political people going to do for me? Thirty-four years later, I’m still staying in a hokkie, nobody is going to give me a house.

“They make too many promises, but after this election you won’t see them again. So where does that leave us as pensioners?” asked Davids.

Resident Assim Davids, 69, said the area has changed.

“I was born here in Salt River, but now things have changed. There are a lot of drugs here,” said Davids.

As a pensioner, Elizabeth Wilkinson from Eastridge in Mitchells Plain said she hoped her vote would bring change to the excessively high rates in water and electricity, which she cannot afford.

Wilkinson, who braved the heavy rains to cast her vote at Imperial Primary, has lived in the area for about 38 years.

She said her children often provide her with financial relief because her pension is unable to accommodate all her costs, especially water and electricity.

She added that teenage pregnancy remained a socio-economic issue in her community.

Cape Times

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