IEC in KZN says voter registrations went well despite some challenges

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The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)  in KwaZulu-Natal says despite community protests that led to delays in the delivery of material at some voting stations, the voter registration weekend progressed well in the province.

Three voting stations were not able to operate on the first day in Imbali outside Pietermaritzburg due to community protests.

Fifty-six thousand first-time voters, between the ages of 18 and 21, registered to vote in this year’s local government election.

The IEC in KwaZulu-Natal is taking stock following the final voter registration weekend. Political parties also took advantage of the two days to not only encourage people to register to vote but to also campaign.

More than 340 000 people registered to vote on 1 November in the province.

“We registered over 340 000 people in our voting stations yesterday, those were split between the people registering for the first time and people that were confirming or changing their wards because they have changed their place of employment.  We have 95 000 that were at our voting stations registering for the first time in this province and then we have 58 000 currently reflecting as new voters in our voters’ roll and then the age category that we like. The 56 000 were registered in the ages 18 and 21,” says Provincial Electoral Operations Manager, Ntombifuthi Masinga.

Challenges encountered

Masinga also elaborates on some of the voter registration challenges that emerged at the weekend.

“We had 4490 voting stations all of them except three opened on Saturday morning. We had service delivery protests throughout KwaZulu-Natal and most of them had to do with the level of service that people get from the municipalities.  But the other reason is dissatisfaction with the newly demarcated ward boundaries.  We do have reports of stations that opened late and materials arrived late. In areas like KwaHlabisa municipality, Port Shepstone and Msunduzi, our area managers who manage a cluster of voting stations per ward were blocked in these community protests that were going on in the province and as a result, they ended up arriving late in the voting stations where they were supposed to deliver the material.”

Masinga says the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is yet to lodge a formal complaint after the party’s leader Julius Malema was blocked while trying to access a voting station in the KwaDambuza area outside Pietermaritzburg.

“It is within the right of the EFF to lodge a complaint because they were blocked access into one of our voting stations, unfortunately, it is something that happened outside of a voting station. Our Presiding Officer wouldn’t be directly involved in that scuffle. There is an argument by the ANC that they blocked access to the voting station because Mr Malema allegedly brought with him a group of people that do not reside in the area but we haven’t received a formal complaint from the EFF as yet. We do encourage them to open a case with the SAPS because the violation of the Electoral Act is the same as breaking any other law in the country. The Electoral Code of Conduct that governs all political parties that contest elections comes into effect today given that the Minister of CoGTA has proclaimed the election date.”

A scuffle between ANC and EFF members in KwaZulu-Natal:

Political parties and independent candidates intending to contest the 1 November election have until 5 o’ clock tomorrow afternoon to submit their nominations and prescribed election deposits. This forms part of the amended timetable following the official proclamation of the election date by the Minister of Co-operative Governance Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.