An election official sets up tape during preparations for South Africa's May 8 parliamentary and provincial elections, at a voting station in Cape Town. Picture: Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

Durban - As residents of former president Jacob Zuma's hometown of Nkandla join millions of South Africans at the polls on Wednesday, some in the area hail the development of roads, installation of electricity and running water but still yearn for more development.

Zuma is expected to vote at 10am at Ntolwane Primary School in the KwaNxamalala area of Nkandla.

Hailing the former president's role in developing the area 21-year-old Fana Magwaza said that access to tarred roads and electricity made life a lot easier as they could reach neighbouring towns quicker while electricity in their homes has also made studying easier.

"I've grown up in the area and there are good changes that I've seen, we got clinics that we can easily access particularly for us the youth who are at risk of diseases such as HIV/Aids but also for the elderly who are frail and need medical attention often," Magwaza said.

He said that he hoped casting his vote today would lead to further development in the area including institutions of higher learning as most young people from the area had to go to cities such as Durban and Pietermaritzburg to access tertiary education.

Speaking at his annual Christmas party for the youth last December Zuma said that he had a dream of building tertiary institutions, a university and a skills development college in his rural village of KwaNxamalala in Nkandla. At the time Zuma said one of the traditional chiefs in the area had already allocated a plot of land for the project.

Siphesihle Ntuli, 23, said that the former president's plan to build tertiary institutions for the youth of Nkandla would open up a range of opportunities for young people in the area as the education they would access there would in turn help develop the area further if they turned the skills they acquired into businesses which would provide employment.

"That would be a progressive move because it's a bit of a tough ask for many young people to leave here and head to the big cities because it requires a lot money. If places like Empangeni can have an institution such as the University of Zululand, why can't the same happen here. I do hope the former president's dream comes to fruition," Ntuli said.

He said that he was confident of further development in the area as the tarred roads in KwaNxamalala, which cost close to R600 million to construct, had been built right before his eyes.

"That gives me hope of further possible development in the area because the road was a nightmare before but now we travel with easy even when there is inclement weather," Ntuli said.

Two road networks in the area were unveiled by the provincial government in 2012 in a bid to link rural KwaNxamalala to towns such as Eshowe, Nkandla and Kranskop. 

Political Bureau