Bonteheuwel residents who spoiled their votes in silent protest against gang violence, believe their campaign made an impact because it got the attention of the authorities.
It all started when Judith Kennedy posted on Facebook that she would be spoiling her vote – her way of telling government and all political parties that she was not happy with the conditions in her community. She ended her post with #IAmSpoilingMyBallotWithMyBlood.
Ms Kennedy’s explanation for this was that too many people had died because of gang violence, and their blood was on the hands of politicians. Therefore, she said, if she voted for a politician, she too, would have blood on her hands. Within hours, many Bonteheuwel residents pledged their support for this, and soon it became a campaign. (“Bad blood,” Athlone News, July 20)
In Bonteheuwel’s Ward 31, a total of 9 254 people came out to vote, with 296 of those ballots being spoilt.
The ward includes parts of Bonteheuwel, Netreg, Charlesville, Montana, Montevideo, Nooitgedacht, Valhalla Park and Kalksteenfontein.
The DA’s Jonathan Cupido was elected as Ward 31 councillor, with 81.02 percent of the vote. In that ward, the ANC took 10.12 percent of the votes and with 2.98 percent, the EFF had the third highest number of votes.
In Ward 50, which covers the most of Bonteheuwel, the DA’s Angus McKenzie was elected councillor. Of the 10 134 total voter turnout, 400 people spoiled their ballots. The DA took 84.9 percent of the votes, the ANC 5.19 percent and Al Jama-ah had 2.23 percent of the votes.
Ms Kennedy said she was not disappointed with the outcome, as the “process and engagement were important”.
“We did a lot of voter education, and although this was thought of as a campaign, it was just about people voicing their opinion. Through our engagement with the community – because people wanted to know why we are doing this – we were able to shed some light around the technicalities of the voting process. So we did even more than what our initial intention was – to raise consciousness. It was also about how we could put Bonteheuwel’s issues in the spotlight during this time. I think our efforts were successful, because more people are talking about it, and it even got the authorities’ attention,” Ms Kennedy said.
The “attention” she was referring to, related to a visit Ms Kennedy got at home, allegedly by members of the Hawks, who warned her that she would be arrested if she took any sharp object into a voting station to cut herself and thereby draw blood. Although the hashtag spoke about blood, Ms Kennedy made it clear that it was just symbolic, and people used red kokis and pens to spoil their ballots.
She has since opened a case of intimidation against the Hawks, and that investigation is still ongoing.
Mr McKenzie said the challenges in Bonteheuwel were more about socio-economic conditions than municipal ones.
His priority, he said, would be to establish ward committees, and he would be hosting meetings with non-profit and non-governmental organisations, as well as religious institutions in the area, to get the ball rolling.
“This is an awesome opportunity, not for myself, but for generations to come. The difference we can make now, will be more tangible to our future generation, so that they don’t need to feel hopeless, like some young people feel now,” Mr McKenzie said.
Of the 10 wards in the Athlone News’ distribution area, nine were won by the DA, and the other by the ANC.
The ANC’s Sonwabo Ngxumza took 53.83 percent of the votes in Ward 42, which includes parts of Manenberg and Gugulethu, followed by the DA with 31.54 percent and the EFF with 7.71 percent.
In Ward 44, which includes Heideveld, Bridgetown, Vanguard Estate and Welcome Estate, 73.43 percent of the voters put their faith in the DA’s Anthony Moses, with the ANC getting 14.06 percent of the votes and the Al Jama-ah party, 2.2 percent.
In Ward 45, which includes parts of Gugulethu and Manenberg, the DA’s Siyabulela Mamkeli, won with 75.92 percent. The ANC followed with 12.86 percent and the EFF with 2.77 percent.
The DA’s Mogamat Aslam Cassiem is the new Ward 46 councillor, with 74.01 percent of the votes, followed by the ANC with 8.8 percent and Al Jama-ah with 6.87 percent. The areas in Ward 46 includes Manenberg (south of Klipfontein Road, east of Hex Crescent, Canal, Duinefontein Road, north of Ruimte Way, Turfhall Road, west of Aries Street, south of Belinda), Sand Industria, Penlyn Estate, Mountview, Pinati Estate, Hatton Estate, Surrey Estate and Newfields.
In Ward 47, the DA’s Antonio van der Rheede was re-elected ward councillor, when he secured 77.71 percent of the votes, followed by the Patriotic Alliance (PA) with 11.03 percent and the ANC with 3.33 percent.
In Ward 48, which includes Belgravia, Belthorn Estate, Crawford, Gatesville, Penlyn Estate, and Rylands, the DA’s Mogamat Magedien Davids retained his position, winning 79.35 percent of the votes, with the ANC getting 6.06 percent, and Al Jama-ah with 4.72 percent.
The DA’s Rashid Adams is the new Ward 49 councillor, with 77.45 percent, followed by the ANC with 10.34 percent and the EFF with 2.25 percent. Ward 49 includes Athlone, Kewtown, Bridgetown, Hazendal and Bokmakierie.
Ward 60 welcomes a new ward councillor, Mark Kleinschmidt, from the DA. This ward covers Belthorn Estate, (south-east of Lawson Road, north-east of Rokery Road and west of Jan Smuts Street), Crawford, Kenwyn, Lansdowne, Rondebosch East, and Sybrand Park. Mr Kleinschmidt won the elections with 75.33 percent of the vote, while the ANC followed with 7.32 percent and the Al Jama-ah party with 6.07 percent.
* In the City of Cape Town the DA secured a 66.61 percent vote followed by the ANC with 24.36 percent and the EFF Fighters with 3.17 percent. Compared to the 2011 municipal elections, the ANC has seen an 8.44 percent drop in support, with the DA’s increasing by 5.69 percent.
The DA has 154 seats in Cape Town, the ANC 57, the EFF seven and the ACDP, three. Provincially, the DA secured 468 seats, 28 more than it held in 2011.