All voters in queues will be allowed to vote: IEC

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The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has assured voters who are still in queues that they will be allowed to vote.

This as polling stations in South Africa’s seventh democratic elections closed at 9pm.

The IEC says 93% of their over 23 000 stations opened on time at 7am this morning.

There were reports of technical glitches and other delays at some stations across the country.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo says they saw very long queues in the metros in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern and Western Cape.

Voter Management Devices

Meanwhile, the IEC says the failure of Voter Management Devices (VMD) at a number of voting stations today has not affected voter’s ability to vote.

Mamabolo addressed the issue of the internet-enabled electoral administrative and management tools which allow amongst other functions, election officials to check voters’ registration information via an online voter’s roll.

He says it is important to take into account the various factors that affect internet connectivity and also bear in mind that a physical voter’s roll is provided to all presiding officers.

“The VMD is an important part of the voting process but it is not a legal requirement. So the legal requirement at the voting station remains the voters roll and all voting stations were provided with the voters roll,” he explains.

“So as soon as we experienced those difficulties, we advised all presiding officers to revert to the voters’ roll which is a legal requirement competent for voting,” adds Mamabolo.

Long queues in Soshanguve

Voters in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria are still waiting patiently in the dark to cast their votes despite power cuts in some sections of the township.

Voting stations experienced delays due to a shortage of scanners and laptops.

Many stations in and around the capital city are still experiencing long queues including Hatfield, where mostly students from the University of Pretoria are waiting to cast their ballot.

It’s going to be a long night for many here at some voting stations in Soshanguve.

While the 9pm cutoff time has passed, the majority of those who have been queuing for hours say they are not leaving until they cast their ballots.

Earlier, tensions rose at Boepathutse Primary School where ballots ran out, delaying the process.

Additional reporting by Phumzile Mlangeni

Below is the media briefing by IEC