Residents of Wepener in the Free State hope that their votes in the by-election will bring change. There are more than 30 000 people registered to vote in four wards, hotly contested in the Mangaung Metro Municipality by-election.
This follows the expulsion of seven former African National Congress (ANC) councillors after voting with the opposition political parties to elect the new mayor and a speaker.
Twenty seven candidates from eight political parties are battling it out in the by-elections. All voting stations opened on time without any glitches. Freedom square in Bloemfontein has the most registered voters.
Ward 50 in Wepener has been affected by service delivery issues, including inconsistent water supply. Voters hope for a change.
“In my understanding, the person I voted for will bring service delivery that we need,” a voter says.
“I just voted, I’m expecting better services and I hope that there will be change,” another voter explains.
“We want job opportunities, water and our youth to be away from drugs,” another voter elaborates.
Voting running smoothly
The IEC says all has been running smoothly in voting stations. Free State IEC spokesperson, Mathabo Rasengane says by three o’ clock on the election day, about 27% of all voters had come to vote.
“Well everything went according to plan, our stations opened on time and currently we have about 7 700 people that came to our voting stations to cast their ballots which is about 25.3% of the voters that we’re anticipating to participate in these elections. However, because our voting stations are closing at nine this evening. We’re expecting it to rise to at least 50%, then we’ll be satisfied with the turnout,” says Rasengane.