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IEC says polls start steadily despite glitches at various stations

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The Electoral Commission (IEC) says although a number of voting stations opened late due to late delivery of voting materials, delayed escorts by security services and community protests, voting got off to a steady start.

In the Free State, the IEC says it has managed to resolve glitches that were experienced at various voting stations in the province.

IEC provincial manager Itumeleng Liba says while some stations opened late, that, however, it did not affect the process of voting. With over 1,4 million people who registered to vote expected across all polling stations in the province, some people were turned away for trying to vote at stations they did not register at.

“The second problem is that voters who pitched at the voting stations without having registered there. It looks like many voters are not aware that the legal dispensation that allowed them to vote anywhere in the country without notice has been repelled and unfortunately, we had to turn them away because they came to the stations where they are not registered,” Liba explains.

Frustrations

Frustration ran high at one of the polling stations in Schonkenville, Parys, due to delays. The station opened on time at 7.00 am, but the challenge of a malfunctioning Voter Management Device (VMD) caused anger among individuals.

Frustrated residents were afraid that they could end up not being able to cast their votes. One of the voters who spoke anonymously had this to say.

“I still standing in the queue, and the queue doesn’t move, there’s nothing happening and there are old people who struggle here, but they are still doing nothing with the old people.”

Protest

A voting station in Keiskammahoek, Eastern Cape, could not be opened because the community in the area was protesting over domestic land issues, despite the presence of IEC staff at the station.

IEC DCEO Masego Shiburi says, “20 stations in eThekwini opened beyond 9 am due to protests…presiding officers and area managers are responsible for the roll-out of logistics to voting stations where there are enough teams it is easier to do that to escort those people this morning, an assessment was made that there would not be enough teams to escort all those teams of presiding officers at a go to voting stations. It was agreed that bigger vehicles would be used to transport a cluster of voting stations so that there could be better escort of those materials because one vehicle needed to deliver at multiple sites there were delays in reaching certain stations.”

The UDM leader Bantu Holomisa failed to vote at the Mthatha City Hall voting station in the Eastern Cape due to technical problems.

Several expressed their frustrations after Electoral Commission officials turned them away as their names did not appear on the voters’ roll. Holomisa, who has since voted at the Mthatha hospital, said the UDM sought to rescue the situation.

“If the people of this region are not ready for that, the UDM will still continue at the national level and I will still continue to occupy the crease and hit them for fours and sixes as I’ve been done, as I’ve been doing. Today we don’t have a speaker. That’s UDM.  The situation in South Africa when it comes to crime is worse. The investors are not coming to South Africa. They are citing the fact that the country is not stable, and we have been having a sleepy government,”

Rocky start

Meanwhile, in Soweto in Johannesburg, there has been a rocky start to voting in several parts of Soweto in Johannesburg. At Tholimfundo primary school in Protea Glen, voters have been left frustrated after the voters’ roll was delivered late. This voter says he arrived at the voting station at five o’clock this morning only to find that there was a delay.

“It’s a mess, the elderly were supposed to vote first. But it’s after 8 and nothing has started as yet. We woke up early around 4am to be here on time so that we could run other errands. But we are still waiting for the IEC,”

The IEC says although a number of voting stations opened late due to late delivery of voting materials, delayed escorts by security services and community protests, voting got off to a steady start, some delays occurred in and around the Johannesburg central and Roodepoort areas.

 

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