Voter for life, 89-year-old grandmother, Thokozile Mkhwanazi. Picture: ANA

Johannesburg - "I will continue to vote as long as I live," declared 89-year-old grandmother, Thokozile Mkhwanazi, from Mahangin, in rural KwaZulu-Natal. 

Mkhwanazi made her remarks after she cast her vote at the Paddafontein Primary School on Wednesday. She said she joined the queue at 6am because she knows the importance of voting. The voting station was only due to open at 7am up to 9pm.

"We were living in difficult times, where your life was being controlled by someone else, we used to work at the farms without getting paid," said Mkhwanazi.

The senior voter said she started voting 25 years ago, in 1994, when South Africa experienced its first democratic elections. 

"If God is still giving me a chance to live, I will never miss this chance of voting so that my grandchildren will have better lives, I don't want to go back where we come from that is why I will always vote until I die," said Mkhwanazi. 

"Now I am getting a pension to support my grandchildren, because of the freedom we got after voting." 

Helen Zwane, 62, who also voted at the same station with Mkhwanazi said it was the best feeling to vote but she was expecting more from political leaders.

"Let's hope it is not the last time we are seeing them (political leaders)," Zwane said in apparent reference to increasing complaints by rural dwellers that politicians only come around when they need votes. 

"We want tar roads ... when it rains it means no buses ... if you want to go to the clinic you will have to wait until it stops raining," said Zwane. 

She said the community also wants mobile clinics to visit the area at least once a month. Clinics are located far away from their homes and schools. 

Zwane said she was hoping her vote will bring about the change her community desires.

African News Agency (ANA)