By Shahied Joseph
Voting in wards 54 and 77 went off smoothly in Monday’s Local Government Elections despite the rain and wind that swept across the Atlantic seaboard during the morning.
Physical distancing was not always strictly adhered to but everyone wore masks within the voting perimeters.
At Schotsche Kloof Primary in Bo-Kaap, voters stood happily chatting to each other despite waiting for nearly 30 minutes for the polls to open.
“It started a bit late, I’d say about half an hour late, but when it opened it moved smoothly and quickly,” said Stefan Ferreira.
“I voted for the opposition as the local council needs a challenge to say the least. I would like to see the Bo-Kaap keep its character, its history, I’d like to see better job opportunities here and I’d like to see the assets being used better for the community and to see more investment that you see in other parts of Cape Town, I don’t think this area gets the same priority.”
ANC candidate Jacqueline Poking voted at the school and says that she wants Bo-Kaap to be a ward on its own. The neighbourhood is in the same ward as Tamboerskloof, Oranjezicht and Zonnebloem.
“We are in a ward that is diverse; Bo-Kaap is a small part of it. The needs of Bo-Kaap is different from the rest and it would make sense to be a ward on its own,” said Ms Poking.
At Jan Van Riebeeck High, the voters formed a lengthy, quiet, queue in the hallways of the school, and this was all before the rain started.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde cast his vote there and had this advice for the next ward councillor: “I started off as a councillor in 1996 and you are the interface between the government and the citizens, you’re a public representative and if they vote for you, you need to be there for their interests to fight on their behalf, making sure your voice is heard in that council,” Mr Winde said of the role of the ward councillor.
DA candidate Francine Higham was stationed outside the school
“The response from the community was positive and people know that we have good governance and I’m looking forward to representing this community as their councillor if I’m elected today,” said Ms Higham.
At Sea Point High, the voters crammed into a foyer as the rain swept them inside. An elderly couple were allowed to skip the queue by fellow voters, and they had their ID captured before entering the school hall to vote. The residents were pleased with the process.
“I voted for change. We can’t go on like this, load shedding, corruption and so on and you have to vote, it’s your right to vote. The process to vote went well,” said Andre Wessels
“I want this area to be cleaned up, that’s why I voted,” said Zenda Powell.
“The voting process was excellent,” said Patricia Brand-Adams. “It’s my duty as a citizen to vote and the main thing is that people have a decent living, that they have jobs, that we have good schools for the young people who are going to be future leaders, so we are voting for them.”
“I’ve lived here for 30 years and I’ve noticed a deterioration and the only thing the DA does is spend the budget on projects, they are not prepared to tackle the big issues which is the homelessness, crime and taxis, so these are the things they do not want to do and these are difficult issues because it brings in race and complicated issues but it’s issues that we want dealt with,” said Neil Zive from Sea Point.
Ward 54 candidates Nicola Jowell, Paul Jacobson and Carlos Mesquita also visited the Sea Point polling station and shared their views with the Atlantic Sun.
“There has been a good turnout despite the weather, thanks to the IEC. There was no hiccups and it was good to have the special votes over the weekend to help iron out the issues,” said Ms Jowell.
“I’ve been in office for two years and it takes a while to get things going but we’ve shown that the DA are committed to getting things done in Ward 54 and excited for another opportunity to do that and I think the voters have seen our dedication and I’m looking forward to the results,” she said.
“To win the ward would be like David downing Goliath, remembering that the last party that contested the by-elections as opposition to councillor Jowell only received 7%,” said Mr Jacobson whose Freedom Front supporters were asked to leave the parameters of the IEC due to their flag waving actions.
“Every vote counts and we are trying to gain as much support from our local community, whether I win the ward or not. We are here to rally as much as support as opposition to the DA, without opposition you cannot produce excellence and we will show the DA they have competition,” said Mr Jacobson.
Mr Mesquita said: “I’ve been to all the voting stations in Sea Point and the rain has interrupted the progress, there were some hiccups earlier on but it’s being managed appropriately. As for winning the wards we contesting it’s going to be a struggle. People are still voting for them (DA) to keep the ANC out and that has overtaken the homeless issues and other issues, so I’m concerned about that.”