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Orlando residents upbeat about voting despite electricity problems

Tankiso Makhetha Investigative reporter
File image.
File image.
Image: Kevin Sutherland

Residents of Orlando in Soweto have vowed to vote, despite the lack of services in the area.

Orlando was rocked by service delivery protests over the last few weeks due to electricity outages.

Aaron Mdlalose, 59, who spoke to Sowetan shortly after casting his vote said he hoped that the new administration would resolve the township’s electricity problems.

“We have a problem with high unemployment and we often don’t have electricity. Those are the main problems in this area. But I know that if I don’t vote then it won’t help me because it means I don’t care about the issues that we are facing,” said Mdlalose.

At least two voting stations lacked activity in the township. Only party agents, a few police officers and officials from the Independent Electoral Commission were seen killing around and assisting a small handful of voters.

Parts of Orlando, specifically Sofasonke Road, have been inaccessible as debris and rocks from protests lie strewn on the streets. Voters’ reluctance also filled the air amongst the youth who claim that voting will not change their living conditions.

Simphiwe Majola, 24, said he had not voted as yet as he was undecided but he was not hopeful that participating in the elections will change their lives.

“I don’t know if I should care or not because we never have electricity here. We haven’t had electricity for four months and I don’t think anything will be fixed here,” said Majola. In Chiawelo, a similar scene of scattered debris greeted motorists on Chris Hani Road. Tinyiko Maswanganye, 33 said it would be remiss to not vote as he believed that the only way to change their situation was by voting out the current administration.

Ramaphosa is coming here to vote. It’s just for the TVs and the cameras. The fact is that we are blighted by electricity outages and we can’t trust the ANC to do anything about it. If they failed to change this situation which we have been living with for the past five years, what makes us believe that they will change anything moving forward?” said Maswanganye.

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