Having made the important decision to participate in this years’ local government elections, I set aside Saturday to go through the process of registering. Little did I realise what was in store for me.
I live in a little backwater town – people outside town probably have smallholdings which are larger. The local civic centre is normally used as a registration point and voting station; at least that’s what I still remembered from the national government elections in 1994. I arrived at the civic centre and was told that I could not register there because I lived in the new part of town. So I was directed to another registration point at a local school in the new part of town.
When I got there, some men standing outside the school in ANC t-shirts beckoned for me to come over. In my mind I told them to fuck off, but the words that actually came out my mouth were “I’m fine thanks; I’m just here to register and will find everything on my own.”
I met an Independent Electoral Commission official inside the school who I remembered as a former colleague at the company I’m employed at. He directed me to two ladies at a desk who proceeded to make a cursory check to see if I was on the voter’s roll, even after telling them that I had last voted in 1994 and was most likely not listed. Images of Zimbabwe’s voters roll containing dead and ancient people flashed through my mind.
Having lost my “green” identity document fuck knows when, I produced my passport and was handed a registration form. The IEC official wasn’t sure if this was acceptable proof of identification and thumbed furiously through a handbook to find the relevent clause which would permit me to register or not. He found what he was looking for and pronounced that my passport was an invalid identity document. He advised me to get a temporary identity document, presumably from the Department of Home Affairs or Local Affairs or whatever the fuck these useless bureaucrats call themselves these days.
Now this is a first for me. My passport is accepted everywhere else in South Africa as a valid identity document, even the fucking banks, and you know how anal they can be about something like that. But the fucking IEC does not think it is valid! I know the IEC did not dream this idiotic requirement up themselves. No, they must surely have had help; and this bureaucratic dumbfuckery smacks of government interference.
So now I have to get a fucking temporary identity document that will have the same details and (if I can still find it) the same photograph as my passport as well. All to please these idiotic IEC officials and presumably the fucker’s in government as well.
But I’m not defeated yet – I’ll be back…