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In South Africa, backward vote by ANC supporters

In the township of Alexandra during the meeting of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 11, 2019, campaigning for his election in the May 8 election.
In the township of Alexandra during the meeting of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 11, 2019, campaigning for his election in the May 8 election. Sumaya Hisham / REUTERS

"Since 1994 we voted for Nelson Mandela, for Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, but nothing has changed. You should come to my home, you will see what we support and how much we suffer »sighs, fatalistic, Aubrey Kutlawano.

Around him, the stadium of the township of Alexandra, in the heart of the megacity of Johannesburg, emptied in the blink of an eye, Thursday, April 11th. The last notes of his speech barely flew, the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa split the crowd surrounded by his bodyguards and rushed into his limousine.

Read also South Africa: corruption, employment and land in the May 8 election schedule

Near the grids, kids jostle to get a t-shirt in the colors black, yellow and green of the African National Congress (ANC), whose leaders have succeeded at the head of the country since the fall of apartheid there is a quarter of century.

At 42, Aubrey Kutlawano finished with the ANC. "Only people motivated by the lure of profit who work for them alonehe fumed. This time I will not vote. "

For weeks, Cyril Ramaphosa has been jumping forums in all corners of South Africa to try to convince his 27 million voters to once again give their vote to his party in the May 8 general election.

"Den of criminals"

All polls still predict an absolute majority. But on the ground, the former unionist close to Nelson Mandela struggles to contain the disappointment, even the anger of his followers.

Especially at Alexandra. Under the opulent glass and steel towers of Sandton's business district, the township could be the home of the ANC's failures.

Open dumps and sewers, small barracks with corrugated iron roofs, broken roads … Most of the neighborhood's 200,000 inhabitants live, or rather survive, without electricity, water and jobs.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also South Africa: white lands, black hopes

"Everyone complains that Alex is a haven for criminals. But it's because people do not have jobs "grumbles one of them, Kgomotso Mosepidi.

"We have to fly to live"explains the father of eight, a computer science graduate who has been unemployed for five years.

Here, the stranger is a designated scapegoat.

"They come from their country, find housing and pay nothing. I, South African citizen, I have to pay my rent, my water and my electricityshouted Nana Zweni, a 44-year-old unemployed mother. The state does nothing for us, they are only there to recover our voices. "

Even angry, she admits that she will still vote for the ANC. "This is the liberation movement, they have made us free. And then Cyril gives us reasons to hope, she says. Better a devil than we know. "

This is the paradox of this election. Despite corruption scandals, despite unemployment, the ANC retains the confidence of a majority of the population.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In South Africa, "Even the pope, we would have corrupted him"

300 km south of Alexandra, the head of state has the same hopes for a better future.

On that day, residents of the township of Thabong, in the mining town of Welkom, rush into a field as muddy as their streets to greet the ANC boss.

Their grievances are numerous. "Since we've been in a democracy, nothing has really changedslips Tau Mphasa, 54 years unemployed for nine years. We are still living in barracks, we are still fighting for access to basic services. "

But he too decided to give the party of the late Nelson Mandela another chance. "But this is the last time, He said. If he does not keep his promises, I will go elsewhere. "

"Responsibility to others"

Welkom and Johannesburg disappointed, the head of state promised new houses, tablets for their children and " a better life ".

"We must respond to the pain and suffering of our people"he told them, punctuating his speeches"Amandla! " (" Power ! ") taken up in chorus by the crowd as at the time of the revolutionary struggle.

In Alexandra, Cyril Ramaphosa could not help but scratch the opposition mayor of Johannesburg, the largest city in the country.

Cyril Ramaphosa on an electoral visit to Khayelitsha township, near Cape Town, on February 27, 2019.
Cyril Ramaphosa on an electoral visit to Khayelitsha township, near Cape Town, on February 27, 2019. Sumaya Hisham / REUTERS

"The local government is supposed to solve your problems but your mayor is afraid to come herehe quipped. It's time to vote ANC! "

Everything gained from the cause of the party, the crowd applauded all at once. Except Respect Nethanani.

Read also In the heart of the townships under apartheid

"They try to blame others for the situation, but they've been in power for twenty-five yearsstrangles this unemployed person, still one, 34 years old. I do not know who to vote for but surely more for the ANC. "

"Cyril is a good guyobjected Jacob Mpho, an unstoppable party. I will vote for the ANC because I trust him. But I cry every day. "

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