Charge us a flat, reduced rate for electricity, says Soweto voter

Soweto pensioner Fikile Maduna, 71, cast her ballot at home during the May 6-7 special votes process ahead of general elections on May 8.
Soweto pensioner Fikile Maduna, 71, cast her ballot at home during the May 6-7 special votes process ahead of general elections on May 8.
Image: Nomahlubi Jordaan/TimesLIVE

"I am voting because I suffered under the apartheid regime, and I don't want to ever go back there," says Fikile Maduna, 71, a pensioner who lives in Soweto.

Maduna is one of 66 special voters in the area who cast their ballots in the comfort of their homes on Monday.

Meshack Mahlangu, the Electoral Commission's presiding officer at Hoerna primary school, where Maduna would normally have cast her vote, said only five of the 28 people registered for special votes on Monday had cast their ballot by mid-morning.

"It has been very quiet this morning. We are expecting 28 people to cast their ballots by 5pm."

Maduna could not go to Hoerna primary school to cast her vote because she has a knee injury and uses a stick to walk.

"I had a knee operation six years ago after I was involved in an accident. I have not been able to walk properly since then."

She started voting in 1994.

"I lived in tough times at the height of apartheid when one had to carry a pass everywhere they went. If you did not have it for some reason and you were stopped by the police, you could get arrested."

Maduna said she was arrested and spent 14 days at the women's jail at what is now Constitution Hill for not carrying her pass. "I lost my job because I had missed work for 14 days. I had to look for another job."

According to Maduna, a lot has changed since the end of apartheid. "When we got freedom, we were able to go anywhere without being stopped and searched or even arrested.

"That is why I am voting and will continue to do so until I die."

"If you don't vote, you can't complain, but if you make your mark, you can have an opinion about how government is running the country."

While she is grateful for a "lot", including the old-age pension she receives from the government, Maduna feels more can be done to improve the conditions under which people in townships live.

"My main issue is the billing system the municipality is using. It is not fair and a lot of us here cannot afford our electricity bills.

"I wish we could all pay a flat rate we can all afford and not the exorbitant rates they charge us."


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