South Africa: The ANC Has Been in Power Forever, but Hostel Life Remains Unchanged - Merafe Residents

IEC voting station (file photo).
analysis

Merafe Hostel residents in Soweto are preparing to cast their vote on 8 May, but wonder what difference it will make to the conditions under which they live. Many don't have much hope that there will be a change.

As you walk into the Merafe Hostel, a pungent smell hangs in the air. It's a cocktail of goat, droppings and sewage. The roads are rutted. Young people idly hang about the hostel blocks.

"They are damaged goods, both the boys and the girls that you see here. This is the reason why we have high crime rates in this area. This is why we have high levels of HIV infection. There are no jobs, so the girls engage in sexual intercourse to make money and the guys do robberies to put food on the table," said John Mthembu.

Mthembu has lived at the hostel since 1971 when he came to Gauteng from his family home in Nquthu in KwaZulu-Natal. He can't remember any significant development taking place there.

"We don't even have basic facilities like a community hall...

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