Mmaphuthi Mabitsela, 107, has urged all registered voters, including the youth, to cast their ballots in the general elections on Wednesday. 
 Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - At the age of 107, few would have election aspirations - but not gogo Mmaphuthi Mabitsela.

She applied for a special vote; special voters are casting their ballot today and tomorrow. IEC officials are visiting the homes of those who applied for special votes.

Mabitsela said politicians were now a different breed compared to when she first cast her ballot in 1994. “Back then, they were selfless and had the best interest of the country at heart. But now it’s all about themselves,” she said.

She also said a lot of promises were made in previous elections, which were not honoured.

Mabitsela nonetheless urged people, especially the youth, to vote. “Lots of comrades died for us to vote. So make sure you use that democratic right. I definitely will,” she said.

Born on November 11, 1911, Mabitsela has lived through every world event and historic moment over the past century. She will witness another on Wednesday when South Africans go to the polls.

Her latest election aspirations entail employment for the youth, including her great grandchildren, before she dies.

Mabitsela is blessed with seven children, 23 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

She also wants moral decay to be rooted out and the culture of respect restored in communities.

She would also like to celebrate her birthday with President Cyril Ramaphosa, irrespective of whether or not he returns to the throne after the polls.

The infinitely wise and witty gogo from Atteridgeville said creating more employment would have a ripple effect against ballooning crime.

Mabitsela said some crimes like rape and women abuse were inexcusable, but when it came to crimes with economic motives such as theft, providing job training and employment opportunities could help curb them. “I’m sure half the people doing crime don’t want to do it. But the standard of life has become so expensive that people are left with no choice.”

She said increased youth employment would also curb drug abuse. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

She said as a start, instead of spending resources on more prisons and prisoners, the government could dedicate resources to expanding schools and improving their quality.

On 25 years of freedom, she said it was both a gift and a curse. “Although we are not treated like slaves anymore, freedom has also caused moral decay, especially among the youth. There is no sense of respect and responsibility for anything. They don’t value their jobs, elders, partners, even their own bodies and mind. It’s like they are short-sighted.”

Mabitsela said the best gift for her birthday was to spend it with Ramaphosa. “I want to give him solid tips. I know he will listen. He has a respectful demeanour and charm.”

Pretoria News