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My 4h 30 min queue to vote in South Africa’s 2014 National Elections

I deplore queues, if there are 3 trolleys in front of me at a supermarket, chances are I will abandon my shopping.  When it comes to elections I somehow take it in my stride.  This post was written in a notebook during my 4h 30 min wait to cast my vote yesterday at Parkdene voting station.  It was a long morning, I was hungry and my back hurt by the time I left.  I’ll leave what I wrote in the present tense which it was written in.

I am pleased to be here.  If you treat today as another holiday, a day off for fun and relaxation, you forfeit the right to ever complain about government.  Our previous election 4 years ago will remain with me always.  From the day  that Terror Lekota announced that he was starting a political party I jumped in with both feet.  I joined the party’s Facebook page before the name Congress of the People was chosen, I spent hours engaged in vibrant and often heated conversations.  I met incredible people.  As branches formed I joined COPE, campaigned, became interim deputy chair of the Boksburg branch and as elections neared I volunteered as a party agent at our polling station.

Election day left indelible memories.  We arrived at the polling station at 6am, I got home at around 3am the following morning.  Party agents assist voters on the day, oversee the voting process and stay until the last vote is counted and the numbers tally.  The meal of a coke and sandwich brought to me by our COPE food team was one of my most special meals ever.  It was prepared and delivered to my by my comrades (I’ve always had a strong aversion to the word comrade, but in the spirit of our camaraderie it remains the most fitting word.)

The highlight of my day was provided by a schoolgirl who was the last to vote.  She was within the cut off boundary but the IEC official in charge did not want to let her vote when closing time came.  The schoolgirl refused to leave, she sat on a table and insisted that she be allowed to vote.  She argued that she had been representing her province at a hockey away game, and that she was within the boundary.  She stubbornly stood her ground for 20 minutes (delaying our counting) and won her right to vote.

4 Years down the road COPE is a distant memory.  Shilowa and Lekota behaved like the biblical father who chose to cut a child in half.  I don’t know or care who was right or wrong, in my view they both were.  They let us down, there was so much energy, so much potential to make a real difference and they blew it.  My vote goes to another party this time.

I enjoyed reading this post by Lenny Says, it summed up many of my thoughts

 

One comment

  1. Eeek – so happy that I did not have to wait long.
    I hate queues as well and suck it up when going to Gov departments to do Id’s and License etc, but don’t if shopping.
    I also had high hopes for COPE at the previous elections, because of a customer who was an ex ANC member and party agent for COPE in our business area.

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