Mzansi counts down to Election Day

Monday, April 8, 2019

In exactly a month – South Africans will take to the polls for the 2019 National and Provincial Elections.

Democratic national and provincial elections have taken place in South Africa every five years starting in 1994.

Elections are an important way for people to debate and decide on their country’s future. They also provide an opportunity for voters to put to use their constitutional rights.

The national and provincial elections are two different elections to choose representatives to the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures. Although they are different elections, they are held on the same day.

What is the difference between the two?

National government makes and carries out laws and policies for the whole country. It is made up of Parliament led by the Speaker; and National Government led by the President and Ministers.

The Provincial Government, on the other hand, makes and carries out laws and policies that affect the province only. It is made up of the legislature led by the speaker, and Provincial Government led by the Premier and Members of the Executive Council (MECs).

South Africa’s electoral system is called the Proportional Representation (PR) system.

The PR system awards seats to political parties according to the percentage of votes each party receives in an election.

Political parties submit a list of candidates to the IEC for the National Assembly and the Provincial Legislatures. Candidates are listed in their order of preference.

On Election Day, voters vote for the political party of their choice, not individual candidates.

After counting, political parties are allocated seats according to the percentage each party received.

An advantage of this electoral system is that it makes sure that smaller political parties are included and represented. This means that the legislatures are made up of people with different interests.

Currently, 26 744 565 South Africans are on the voters roll, according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Since its inception ahead of the 1999 national and provincial elections, the voters’ roll has shown steady growth of over 47% and contains the highest number of registered voters to date, recording an increase of 1 366 748 voters since 2014.

A total of 30 532 voters have applied to cast their vote in the national elections at one of South Africa’s 121 foreign missions.

The IEC has also opened its doors for the applications of special votes - until the 18 April.

The special votes will allow those who are unable to reach a voting station due to physical infirmity, disability or pregnancy – to cast their votes in the comfort of their homes. The second type of special vote is cast at a voting station - which is opened for any voter who is unable to cast their ballot on voting day.

These special votes will be conducted between 09H00 and 17H00 on Monday, 6 May 2019 and 7 May 2019

According to IEC statistics, of the 26.74 million registered voters, 14 716 879 are women (55%) which is 4% above the demographic split of the South African population, according to Statistics South Africa which is based on 2018 Midyear Population Estimates.

The provinces with the highest number of registered voters are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

In terms of age, the biggest category of voters are those aged 30 – 39 years old (6 685 472) which represents 24.99% of the roll.

The IEC has confirmed that a total of 48 political parties will be running for the elections. -

A promising project for Zandspruit community

Democratic Alliance (DA), African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are working together to provide housing in the community of Zandspruit.

DA Johannesburg Mayor Cllr Hemman Mashaba and MMC for Housing Meshack van Wyk revealed the parties’ alliance when they conducted an oversight visit to Zandspruit. The community mostly affected and in most urgent need for all political parties to unite and provide proper housing, according to Mashaba. 

The mayor’s visit marked the official launch of a project that will lead to the construction of 7000 housing units to replace shacks. The oversight visit also aimed to ensure that all processes planned for extensions 83, 84 and 85 are followed to enable the multi-party government to deliver services effectively.

 “Last year, I came to listen to the residents’ problems and challenges,” the Mayor said in an interview with the Chronicle. “They then showed me the land that the city can use to develop and provide the community with stands. I prepared a report to the council and it was approved that we can go ahead.”

 In the history of Johannesburg, the mayor said, this is the first time that all political parties were willing to work together on a particular project.

“From day one, the provincial government wanted to collapse our multi-party government in the city of Johannesburg,” Mashaba said. “Multi-party government is so important when it comes to community development. I think I will use this project as a model throughout the city. We want to do away with informal settlement over the next 10 to 15 years.”

Mashaba added that the City of Johannesburg is in discussion with Eskom to assist the community with proper electrification.

Nkosi Mthembu,who has lived in Zandspruit for the past 19 years,  said it was a promising sign to see all political parties going for the same goal.

“What we want is proper infrastructure in our community,” he said. “Politicians always come to us with different ideas especially towards elections. But this time I hope their promises will stand.” 1

Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation embraces World Water Week

About 7000 learners from four Cosmo City primary schools sang, danced and learned about waterissues during the annual March Water Week awareness campaign from 18 to 24 March conducted by Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation partnering with Centurion Systems.

As part of the campaign, Eco Culture demonstrated how sewer pipes get blocked by foreign objects like plastic bags, newspaper and nappies, with the hope that the demonstration will change learners’ behaviour.

“We did hands on workshop with all grade six pupils,” said the Eco Culture co-founder Alex Frost. “It gave them the practical exposure to wetlands, their health and biodiversity. Such activities made learning easier and fun for them.”

“Multiple sewage leaks are a daily occurrence in Cosmo City,” said the Eco Culture Environmental Education coordinator Marylin Ndhlovu. “During the water awareness campaign the participants conducted the mini Stream Assessment Scoring System (SASS) water test in the Cosmo City conservation area.”

 “The learners used nets to fish for aquatic invertebrates; the species composition that was found was used to determine the stream’s water quality using a scoring sheet based on the invertebrates that were caught. The learners from Cosmo City West Primary and Tirisano-Mmogo Primary found the stream to be in a critically poor condition, and this was most likely a result of the constant sewage pollution leaking into the stream.”

“We are piloting the Enviro Buddies programme within two beneficiary schools in Cosmo City,” Frost said. “The Enviro Buddies programme takes the form of an extra-curricular activity and introduces the learners to environmental issues through theoretical and practical activities that will be conducted once a week.”

Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation is a fully registered Non-Profit Organisation, Public Benefit Organisation and Social Enterprise that focuses on developing and placing environmental sustainability programmes in both schools and communities. These programmes are designed to educate and improve environmental conditions within these communities.

Prayer march for Cosmo city amid escalating crime

“It is every Christian’s duty to pray against crime and violence, and we will continue doing that,” said 21ST Century Glorious Youth Movement cofounder Phuti Moyaha.

Moyaha spoke during a prayer march held in Cosmo City on 21 March 2019. The annual prayer march started from Cosmo City Church in extension 3 with scores of congregants and community members attending. Community members identified several crime hotspots and the congregants stopped in those places for prayers and declarations.

“We do this every year in different communities,” Moyaha said, “but it is our first time to mobilize people to pray for Cosmo City. We understand there has been a lot of disturbing stories in this community.”

“We are here to ask for divine intervention from God so that whatever violent activities are happening in these communities come to an end. We cannot accept this as a normal thing in our society.”

It is important to get the young people involved in positive community issues, Moyaha added. Over the past seven years, the 21st Century Glorious Youth Movement has provided a platform to equip  young people to deal with everyday challenges.

Protesting and destruction of infrastructure are not necessary for community development, according to Moyaha, but prayers are.

“People must also acknowledge that even with our liberation movement, prayer proved to be the key leading to our independence. However, it is not all about just praying without acting, “he said.

 21st Century Glorious Youth Movement and various churches also need to engage with organisations in Cosmo City to stop crime and violence, said Moyaha.

Cosmo City residents speaking to the Chronicle said they were happy for the community to be considered for such prayers.

“After what has been happening in the community,” Nomsa Ndlovu said, “I think such prayers were much needed. We hope this will lead to peace in our community.”

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