ANC leader in KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala cast his vote at Manqondo Primary School in Ndwedwe. Sibusiso Ndlovu African News Agency (ANA)
DURBAN - After continued violent protests in Ndwedwe over the past two weeks, voting got off to a slow start in the area.

By 9am, only a few people had gathered at Manqondo Primary School to cast their vote.

Many residents had vowed not to vote until service delivery issues in the area were resolved.

First time voter Maria Mpunzane, 19, said the youth in the area were not motivated to vote.

She said that some residents boycotted the election because they had been without water for the past four years.

“The roads are also very bad. When it rains, pupils cannot go to school. I am very happy that I have voted. I am unemployed but I am optimistic that jobs will be created and our water will be restored,” said Mpunzane.

Ndwedwe and Umzimkhulu are two of the areas in eThekwini that were identified as hotspots by the Electoral Commission.

Last week, residents blocked all access routes to the area with burning tyres, stones and rubble.

MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala, who voted at the school, said it was a big ward and he was pleased there were no disruptions on voting day.

Ntombikayise Msenezi, 76, said she woke up very early to cast her vote.

“We have serious water issues in this area. As much as I am disappointed with the lack of service delivery in our community, I decided my vote was important,” said Msenezi.

She said residents were buying water and sometimes had to travel a long way to get water from the river.

“We are like cows now because we drink, cook and bath with water from the river.”

THE MERCURY