Tempers flare for voters who realise that the stakes are higher than ever

Voters at the Sebokeng Hostel in Emfuleni line up to cast their votes on May 8 2019.
Voters at the Sebokeng Hostel in Emfuleni line up to cast their votes on May 8 2019.
Image: Thulani Mbele

An elderly man wearing Zion Christian Church (ZCC) regalia loudly proclaiming the scriptures enlivened voting in a Johannesburg suburb on Wednesday, as did an angry voter who accosted another in the queue.

The "preacher" refused to lower his voice when a police officer told him he was disturbing the election process at Ferndale High School. He told the officer that he was doing the work of the Lord and that those telling him to keep quiet were actually disturbing him.

A heated exchange between two waiting voters started when a white man asked an IEC official how long the queue was inside and how long the voting process would take.

As the official was explaining, a black man who was also in the queue interjected and asked the white man how the official was supposed to know how long voting would take.

The black man came charging at the white man and removed his cap. Police officers soon arrived and separated them.

Among those who got down to the business of the day was Bokang Maragelo, 28, a first-time voter.

He said he hopes to see more young people in positions of power. "I'm voting for jobs. I want to see more young people in parliament and participating in the political atmosphere, so that there are new bright ideas. I feel some of these political parties don't involve us and I hope my vote changes something," said Maragelo.

He said he had decided not to vote in previous elections because he did not see the need to do so. "I've been abstaining [from voting] for the past few years, but this time around there's a lot at stake in the political atmosphere. We are at a time where everything is at stake. I felt compelled to vote," he said.

Another first-time voter, 19-year-old Alex Brown, said voting for him was both exciting and nerve-wracking. "It was quite quick. I enjoyed the voting. I was nervous and excited at the same time."

He said he was voting to see change in Vereeniging, where he was born. "My mom lives there. It would be nice to have a clean-up there, and for people to get proper education because schools there are run down and people don't care if you pass or fail," he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, the man at the helm of the ANC, has to embody many different characters in order to reach all his audiences. We followed Cyril Ramaphosa on his campaign trail to show you his different faces.


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