Flood-hit Chatsworth hopes for better services as it turns out to vote

Voters in Chatsworth, south of Durban, file in at voting stations on Wednesday.
Voters in Chatsworth, south of Durban, file in at voting stations on Wednesday.
Image: Suthentira Govender

"If we don’t vote, we have no right to complain."

That’s the belief that drove 81-year-old Chatsworth resident Dhana Naidoo and his wife Veliamah, 75, to the polls on Wednesday.

"I’ve experienced the harshness of apartheid and the Group Areas Act. So I made it my duty ever since 1994, to make my mark every time there is an election."

Traditionally Chatsworth has been split between the ANC, DA and the Minority Front.

Naidoo said while his area of Umhlatuzana was badly hit by the recent floods, he still had vested his confidence in government.

"I had to get involved in this process and get things going for change."

At most polling stations in flood-ravaged Chatsworth, a suburb which lies south of Durban, voters trickled in throughout the day to cast their votes.

Dana Naidoo and his wife Veliamah voted on Wednesday because they crave change.
Dana Naidoo and his wife Veliamah voted on Wednesday because they crave change.
Image: Suthentira Govender

Three weeks ago President Cyril Ramaphosa visited areas in greater Durban that were severely affected by floods which lashed the province and left more than 70 people dead.

One of his stops was Westcliff, where eight people lost their lives after their home below the Westcliff Secondary School collapsed during a mudslide. At the school on Wednesday, voters gradually made their way in, seemingly oblivious to the tragedy that had unfolded less than a month earlier.

The only evidence of the tragic event were huge mounds of sand, crosses and flowers marking the spot where the family, including the school’s caretaker, died.

"Yes it was a tragedy... very sad. We now have to deal with the stench from the rotting garbage. I will vote, because I am fed up with this lack of service delivery and disregard for residents here," said one fed-up voter, who did not want to be identified. "We need change." 

Piles of garbage lined a road near the voting station, as voters made their way to make their mark.

IEC officials at the Westcliff voting station reported that over 200 voters had turned up since 7am and they were expecting more people as the day wore on.

Another voter who did not want to be named told TimesLIVE that he had given up on supporting the ANC.

"They have made too many promises and didn't deliver. I have always supported the party through the years, but I’m disappointed, so I will vote for some other party today."

Male nurses Brian Malibe and Jan Maluleka, who are based at the RK Khan Hospital, were more positive.

"We want to exercise our right to vote, so we came early. It’s an exciting time and the voting process was very smooth. Now we can enjoy the day," said Maluleka.

TimesLIVE takes you through the country on Election Day on May 8 2019.

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