Millions of South Africans from all walks of life made their mark in the country’s 6th democratic elections last week. But there were just as many citizens who didn’t bother.  It’s estimated that there were around 9 million eligible voters who did not cast their ballot on Wednesday. The Saturday Star’s Sameer Naik caught up with some of them to find out why they decided not to vote.

Elaine Michelle, 31


Since I was a young girl I never believed that this country would offer me anything. I’m a single mother and unemployed. I can’t get help from government. What I get is hardly enough to feed my son. I’m on my own. So why vote? The economy is terrible.

When I was 17, I went to London. Everything works so well and everything is great there. That makes you want to vote. But here your vote doesn’t count. I can move to another country, but everything costs money, so I’m just trying to survive.

I’ve struggled and been unemployed for so long. I believe it’s because of my race. There’s no political party that supports all races.

Masego Moeketsi, 21

There’s no party that I feel I can really trust, it’s rather the devil you know, right? I’d be content with the ANC remaining in power.

I know there’s plenty of corruption, but who says there isn’t any corruption in the other parties? I’m sure the tide won’t change, and I’m expecting the ANC to walk away winners.

But it would be good if they got a good scare from the opposition parties so they improve and better themselves.

Afrika Nkosi, 37

It’s hard to vote because none of the political parties have what I need. I don’t think they’ll provide anything better for my kids to look forward to or to live for.

They’ve all made promises and have failed. If you look at the state of education and safety, and the currency, it’s all gone down. Our leaders are old and they have that old way of doing things.

They world has evolved. Once political parties realise that we need to change and start running state entities like businesses to generate revenue, that’s when we’ll be able to sustain ourselves.

We’re taking loans from China, America and France. We’re in debt.

There isn’t any party worth voting for. Yes, the EFF have got young educated people, but I don’t think what they’re offering is good enough.

The call for free education is ridiculous. If you don’t put a cent into something, you don’t value it, you don’t take it seriously.

I’m not saying universities must charge a ridiculous amount of money, but we need to be realistic. There is nothing for free in this world.

Christina Dube, 51

I’ve voted for most of my life, but this year I refused. There’s too much corruption within the ANC.

Thepromise change, they promise a safer country where we can thrive, but nothing changes.

I lost my son three years ago. He was murdered.

No one’s been arrested. The police don’t seem bothered. My son’s killer is roaming the streets a free man.

Why should I give my vote to the ANC or any other party if there’s no change? There’s no doubt that the ANC will win the elections, so my vote will be irrelevant.

Teboho Ramodibe, 21

I just didn’t want to be involved in the politics of this country. It wouldn’t have been hard for me to decide which party to vote for, but I had no desire whatsoever to be involved.

I know that men and women in this country fought and died for our right to vote, but I can exercise my right to not vote - there’s nothing wrong with that.

Vaughan Michelle, 31

I disagree with the DA, I disagree with the ANC. No political party appeals. They’re all just vying for votes and power. Then it’s all the false little promises like jobs. The DA has promised a job in every house by the end of next year. It’s not possible.

They all have the same strategy. I told my wife we’re not going to vote.

I don’t believe in the South African government. You can’t trust a word any of these political parties say.

I don’t want to vote, because why must I vote for something I don’t agree with or trust? They’re not helping me - they’re only raising my taxes, raising my petrol price.

Why should we vote for somebody who makes no difference?

Malwande Mpalisa, 28

My one vote won’t make a difference at all. There’s no change in our country. We’ve seen it way too many times, where political parties promise the world, but once they’re put in power they don’t do anything.

We’ve been let down far too often so it wouldn’t be right to give my vote to any party.

Cameron Naidoo, 25

I wasn’t in South Africa to register to vote. I’ve been in the Philippines teaching English. I think the ANC will remain in power, but I don’t think the country is run particularly well by them. It can always be better, but I think the next two years are crucial because they’ll determine the long- term outcome. I do think, however, that the margin of victory for the ANC will be much smaller.

Reatile Moeketsi, 19

I’ve never really been interested in voting. This year was the first year I was eligible to vote, but I wasn’t interested at all. I’m happy with the current party that’s in charge, I could stick with them. I think I’m afraid of change and what it will bring.

You never know what can happen if another political party takes charge, so remaining with the ANC is something I’m happy with. I’m sure my vote won’t be of any significance and won’t change the inevitable.

The Saturday Star