Just a recap of recent events:
- I decide to vote again after 16 years
- I try to register to vote and am turned away by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for not having the right identity document
- I vow to persist in making myself eligible to vote
- The ANC’s foolish and desperate threats to those contemplating voting for opposition parties, makes it even more imperative to get this right and vote against them
With the last event still fresh in my mind and fighting against wicked thoughts to do something more drastic, I headed to a Home Affairs office close to my place of work. Having heard the horror stories about the gross levels of incompetence and inefficiency at these shrines to bureaucracy, I decided to get there early and leave myself enough time to face the anticipated failings of this arm of government.
Well, I wasn’t disappointed; in the accuracy of the horror stories at least. I was disappointed that these bumbling fools could only manage to change the furniture in the Home Affairs office, after 16 years of promising to be different from the old Apartheid regime. Everything else in the tiny room appeared to have remained the same. Iron mesh reminiscent of a prison cell covering the windows, large posters of the inept bureaucrats in charge of Home Affairs and an insincere Value and Mission Statement on the walls, a small fan rather than an air-conditioning unit straining to keep the room cool, and the same disorganization, inefficiency and arrogance that I experienced in the old days.
Three hours and a bit later and 90 bucks lighter in pocket [50 for the photographs and 40 for the documents], I forced my way out of that Home Affairs office through a throng of irate people, clutching in my hands a temporary identification certificate like a prized ancient manuscript. Off course, I didn’t take the promise of a permanent new green identity document in 8 weeks very seriously, especially after watching the helpless look on the face of the women who was turned away because her ID was not ready after more than 8 weeks.
Safely back in my office, I wondered how a government can spend R100-million on a monstrously frivolous event such as the World Festival of Youth and Students which was held here in South Africa recently, but not have the same vision to provide essential and decent facilities for its citizens. And then it struck me that their primary concern when spending that money was to buy votes from the youth [or those hooligans in the Youth Leagues who claim to be youthful].
Well, I’ve got my ridiculous piece of paper which proves that I am who I claim to be. What’s important is it allows me to register to vote. And my vote can’t be bought.