Voting seems to have proceeded smoothly in most polling centres across the country, as thousands of South Africans cast special votes in the 2019 general elections.
The rest of South Africa goes to the polls on Wednesday in what, many analysts say, will be the most closely fought general elections in South Africa’s democratic history.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has cast his vote for the 2019 general elections. Tutu voted at his Cape Town home on Monday morning.
About 770 000 people are eligible to vote during special votes Monday and Tuesday. The Independent Electoral Commission’s area manager for the Milnerton area, Allen du Plooy, says both Tutu and his wife Leah voted. He says Tutu was upbeat during the process.
Senior citizens at Serenitas Old Age in Bloemfontein were among those who took the opportunity to cast their special votes. Some in wheelchairs and others using walking sticks were assisted by the IEC officials to make their mark.
The elders expressed the importance of strengthening and shaping the future of the country.
One voter says, “I think I’ve done my duty. Well it’s for yourself as well as the country and the province.” “I feel free because I’ve done it. We have done our duty. We’ll we want to make a difference that’s why we vote. We want to determine our future anyway we can do that,” says another.
Concern over delays
Science and Technology Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, has expressed concern over the delays she experienced while trying to cast a special vote in Soweto. She says she was initially told that walk-ins were not allowed.
She eventually managed to vote, but says some people who applied for special votes were turned away because their names did not appear on the voters roll.
In the Northern Cape, special voting is progressing slowly at the John Taolo region in Kuruman. The IEC’s Regional Coordinator Peter Kgobe says all 132 voting stations opened on time at 9 o’clock this morning.
Kgobe says over 14 600 voters registered for special voting across the region. He added the slow turnout they are experiencing at the voting stations currently is not anything to worry about at the moment, as they are registering higher numbers on their home visits.
While special voting across many stations in the eThekwini Municipality got underway without any glitches, some voters were frustrated by delays due to the late arrival of ballot boxes. This is what one resident from Westville in Durban had to say.
” I cast my early vote, it took a very long time. We went to Avon Junior Primary at 9:30, there was no sign of anything around. We then went to Westville Civic Centre, they were setting up and had no idea what we could do. At 11, IEC posters went up, they said they just received ballot boxes. The special votes at Westville Civic Centre went out without a glitch.”
Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is probing ballot boxes seen lying on the streets of Tzaneen, in Limpopo, on Monday morning.
IEC Chairperson, Glen Mashinini, says CEO Sy Mamabolo has ordered authorities in the province to investigate.
“If those boxes are in any way our boxes, it will be regrettable and the matter will be attended to accordingly with whoever the officer is. But at this stage our understanding is that it is not ballot papers, it is ballot boxes … ”
“How they got on the ground? We are not yet sure. But we will be providing a report on that,” Mashinini says.