No serious incidents reported on first day of voter registration: IEC

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has appealed to residents in the 96 wards across the country, where there are vacancies to take advantage of the final day of this voter registration weekend on Sunday to make sure they’re registered.

The commission has expressed satisfaction with how things have gone so far, saying no serious incidents were reported on the first day of voter registration.

Deputy CEO for Electoral Operations at the IEC, Masego Shiburi, says they will only know how many potential voters turned out once the registration process has been concluded later on Sunday.

“We’re satisfied with the proceedings so far, our own logistics undertaken, as well as conduct of voters and communities, and we hope that that carries on into the next day, tomorrow. We’ve had an uneven stream of people to voting stations. The rough figures – we’ll be able to communicate sometime tomorrow once we’ve verified those who’ve come to apply and those who’ve come to inspect their details.”

T Shiburi urges potential voters to make sure that they register before 5pm on Sunday.

“We appeal to those people in the 96 wards where there are vacancies, to avail themselves for this convenient opportunity to register closer to where they are ordinarily residents so that they participate in selecting the public representatives who represent their wards, come the 11th of November. The stations will again open at eight in the morning and close at 5. A person must bring their greed ID book, as well as a mask to a voting station.”

The by-elections will be held in 56 municipalities on the 11th of next month. They were postponed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents of Ward 13 in the troubled Amahlathi Local Municipality in Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape say they are longing for a caring and honest leadership.

They hope the upcoming by-elections in their area will bring much needed basic services. Their municipality has been accused of maladministration, and was once put under administration.

Residents say they will never abandon voting regardless of the treatment they are receiving from their leaders.

Lulama Bhongwe is one of the residents.

“I think the next council is supposed to take care of the people. The only thing they need to do is to take care of the people and make the roads safe because these roads are so dangerous to our motorcars. They are supposed to build the RDPs in order to stay safely because the place is not conducive.”

Voting also kicked off smoothly in the Northern Cape. Of the eight municipalities, two of them will be contested for proportional representatives, as their councils were dissolved due to political infighting.

Residents in these municipalities are also aggrieved over poor service delivery.

“Most of the people, they do not have toilets and sewerage and unemployment is too high in our community and we do not have proper houses,” says one resident.

“It’s bad because here there’s lack of services. There’s no water and sanitation and unemployment is very high this side,” adds another resident.

Poor service delivery concerns were also echoed by residents of Klipspruit informal settlement at the Emalahleni Local Municipality in Mpumalanga.

They have no basic services such as water and electricity. They pleaded with ANC National Chairperson and Cabinet Minister Gwede Mantashe, who was in the area, to help them get RDP houses.

“We are pleading with the Minister to assist us with RDP houses, we have been waiting for houses for long. We have no water here the water tanks comes ones a week and we are too many,” says one resident.