Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Municipal Elections South Africa

Over the past six weeks, I've not been able to concentrate all that well on blogging. Apart from writing several articles for the provincial newspaper and a motorcycle article for an adventure magazine, I've also been involved in the local municipal elections. 

I'm working for the local candidate for the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). The governing party, the ANC is still ahead of the DA in most constituencies - see here but will have to fight this time to hang on to their power. 

While I've never used my blog as a political platform, working for this campaign has been great fun. Of course, I've always had my camera ready and soon my candidate was being asked by neighboring towns who this "urban legend" was who recorded every-and-anything about the campaign! 
Even in the early days, I set up the self-timer on my camera and recorded our activities. Here Lydia and I pose with candidate, Piet during a training session
Piet's house-lady with him and Lydia
Leader of the opposition party (the DA) is the ever-popular Mmusi Maimani
Information table in Marquard's main street at the end of June

As there was an opportunity for the frail and infirm to vote at home, by special vote, I took it upon myself to make the applications on behalf of all the residents in the retirement center.  I visited all the people who would not be able to stand in queues on 3rd August. Then I posted their details onto a specific website set out by the DA and waited for approval. Apart from the applicants who hadn't actually registered in the local ward, I had a 100% positive return. 
78 year-old Annetjie Cloete proudly displays her approval to have a home visit for voting
MIL  Pam was another of the almost two dozen applicants who were approved for home visits 

I also received approval for approximately fifteen party agents to be able to vote on allocated days (like the home visits) as they'd be too busy on the actual election day to visit the polling station where they are registered. 

Working against a deadline here - I had to have all the applicants entered by 5pm on that day

Of course, you can imagine that I soon involved Rina in our activities. Within days of us working together in Piet's home office, we'd gained a reputation of getting the computerised admin done within record time; which was a mixed blessing. We were sent several hundreds of canvassing forms from three surrounding towns to upload onto a special system! 
Rina and I hard at work uploading information from written canvassing sheets onto the computer
Edwin, a roving party agent, Piet, PPLC, Jo; Joseph- candidate and activist Pholo
On 9 July everyone did a Dry Run on how the elections would be controlled; here in the DA's town office:  Rina, Elsabe (Piet's wife) and moi

Yesterday and today, Rina and I accompanied presiding officers from the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) around the retirement village supervising special votes. It all went off very well but we were shattered by the end of the day. Anyone who interacts with and cares for, oldies on a regular basis needs a gold medal. Each vote took an average of fifteen minutes; not that it's the elderly person's fault. No, everything is slower; things are forgotten (almost everyone had left their identity books back in their bedrooms and we had to stop operations until a nurse or other helper fetched it) and most of them are hard of hearing while several had impaired eyesight and the presiding officer had to make their crosses for them (with us looking on) 

Tomorrow Rina and I will start work at Piet's home office at 7am  when the voting stations around the country open until tomorrow night at 7. 

I, for one, am hoping and praying for change in our country after the elections, especially in the municipalities which have fallen into a terrible state of disrepair, corruption and bankruptcy over the past two decades.

Have a wonderful day! 


  1. you have certainly been busy and God bless you for giving of your time to help... having worked in a home much like the one your MIL lives in for 8 years, i can relate to your problems. I wish you well and that your country will get some releif and what they need. we feel pretty hopeless here as this time we will all be voting on the one we hate the less....

  2. kudos to your commitment and hard work.

  3. Wow, Jo, you are amazing. So nice to see photos of you — lookin' good!
    But your work with the seniors is what made me really happy. I'm so proud of you. It was a great idea, taking the vote to the seniors instead of leaving them to fret or forget about it.
    Love from here,
    Kay and Lindy (oh, and Dick, too)

  4. Good for you and your friends for stepping up and doing your part in the upcoming elections. I pray it all goes well for your party. xx

  5. WOW! JO I wondered why you had not been around bloggland so much, you have been very busy and I looks like you are doing a great job there hlping out the campaigne. Hope things goes went for the country and the right person wins.

  6. It is such a great feeling, isn’t it, to be part of the democratic process. I have gotten involved during some elections and quickly realized how incredibly important local participation (or lack thereof) is significant to the end results.

  7. Hello, Jo! You have been very busy! I have been missing your post and photos. I hope the right person wins the election and the country changes for the better. You are so nice to volunteer. Have a happy weekend!

  8. Good for you getting involved. And having the patience to work with the seniors.

  9. So proud of you for getting involved. Here in our country, things are HORRIBLE. Neither candidate is popular at all---so there's not much joy here over either one... It's so sad. Our country needs changes SO desperately.. Don't think it will happen in November which is OUR election here. Hope your 'man' (party) wins... As you said, things need to change and need to improve.... Good Luck.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo