(Transcript from World News Radio)
More than 25-million registered voters are about to descend on polling stations across South Africa.
It will be the first election since Nelson Mandela’s death.
His former party, the African National Congress, is expected to retain power, despite declining support, even in one-time strongholds.
Luke Waters reports from Soweto.
For some Soweto residents, a pre-election visit from the Vice President is reason for celebration.
A sea of yellow snakes through the dusty streets of the township.
Clad in yellow ANC shirts, supporters are following outgoing Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe as he campaigns.
But in the townships, support for the party isn’t as overwhelming as it once was.
Decades of failing services are generating discontent.
This woman told us her home floods during heavy rain and has done for more than a decade.
“They don’t repair the streets so when it rains all this water is coming from the street to here so we are asking if they can fix this.”
But in Soweto, many stalwarts refuse to abandon the party.
One-time freedom fighter 59 year old Ntombi Dineka explains the struggle generation to her 22-year old son.
“Because you been watching people die in front of you – guns all things like machine guns the police shooting people – that’s why we had to fight back – because if you didn’t, even today we would be suffering if we didn’t fight.”
But first time voter Vuyisile has informed her he’ll vote for the Democratic Alliance.
“She may want me to vote for ANC but I’m not willing to vote ANC because I’ve never seen any changes.”
In a way, the decision vindicates the very cause his mother, and thousands like her fought for.
And she accepts her son’s decision.
“Yes, that’s freedom. I can’t force my son to do something he doesn’t like. He has got his own life. He’s free. It’s a free country now.”
A few kilometres away, in a government house on the western outskirts of Soweto, Lu Lu Pieterson appears outwardly happy.
But she’s suppressing intense rage.
Her brother Hector Pieterson became a face of the struggle after the then 12-year old was shot by police during the 1976 Soweto uprising.
Lu Lu says the ANC has disrespected her brother’s legacy, is corrupt and she’s turning her back on the party.
“They’ve done nothing. All they have done is looted that money for themselves. They did nothing for us. The highest office of the ANC they’re looking after themselves and their relatives and their friends so that means if you’re not connected from the ANC you will never get anything.”
The symbolism of her departure is profound, but symbolic of the growing discontent with allegations of ANC corruption.
Back on the campaign trail a party official told SBS allegations are being investigated, and will be addressed.
“The president has said whatever the outcome of this investigation he’s willing to yield himself into ensuring the law is upheld.”
In the outlying townships like Soweto, it’s unlikely the growing discontent with the ANC will affect the polling significantly in this election.
But another term of unfulfilled promises and allegations of corruption could spell significant change for the ANC.