World Bulletin / News Desk
Two former officials of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday launched a campaign urging voters to spoil their ballots in next month's general elections to protest corruption and poor governance.
"We are calling on registered voters to either vote tactically for minority parties or spoil their ballots by writing 'NO' across the ballot paper," Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a former deputy health minister, told reporters at the campaign's official launch at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand.
She said the "Vote No" campaign was aimed at sending a warning to the ANC – and to the main opposition parties – not to take voters for granted.
"We started off with the ANC as the popular people's movement, which was about putting people first," Madlala-Routledge recalled.
"And what do we see now?" asked the former official. "We see our leaders putting themselves first."
Nearly 20 million registered voters will go to the polls on May 7 to elect lawmakers for South Africa's National Assembly and provincial legislatures.
The race will likely be dominated by the ANC, the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Congress of the People (COPE) and the Inkatha Freedom party.
Former intelligence minister Kasrils, a co-sponsor of the "Vote No" campaign, said former presidents and ANC leaders Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki had not been tempted to amass personal wealth.
He added that he did not vote for the ANC in the previous election.
Madlala-Routledge cited the recent controversy over $23 million worth of security upgrades made to President Jacob Zuma's rural home in South Africa's KwaZulu Natal province.
"There is absolutely no way that a person can justify the expenditure of the security upgrades of the president's home," she said.
"Of course our president needs to be secured. But at times I ask myself, who [does] he fear in Nkandla?" she asked.
The former official wondered if the president was afraid of hungry people who might come knocking at his gate.
"But our struggle was exactly about taking our people out of hunger and unemployment," she said.
This ['Vote No'] campaign is giving our people back their power; their voice will be amplified."
South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recently accused the president of using substantial amounts of public money to renovate his home in Nkandla.
The renovation was supposed to have cost the state some $2.5 million. But with lavish upgrades – including a swimming pool, cattle kraal and visitor's center – the total cost skyrocketed to a whopping $23 million.
Madonsela has since ordered the president to repay the money spent on unnecessary upgrades.
But Zuma has since insisted he would not pay back the money as he hadn't requested the additional upgrades.
At the campaign's launch at the University of the Witwatersrand, one disgruntled ANC member stood up and suggested that many voters in the townships planned to boycott the vote due to dissatisfaction with the ruling party.
Mike Moletsan, a registered voter, agreed.
"I will support the 'Vote No' campaign so that the ruling party realizes that corruption, bad policies and favoritism are not good," he told AA at the launch ceremony.Last Mod: 16 Nisan 2014, 11:29