It would seem the final voter registration weekend has gone general smooth despite isolated issues in parts of the country.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in KwaZulu-Natal says they are impressed by the over 140 000 people who came to voting stations on the first day of the voter registration weekend.

A total of 4 940 voting stations were open during the voter registration weekend in the province.

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Provincial Electoral Operations Manager, Ntombifuthi Masinga, says they’ve captured the details of over 35 000 new voters this weekend.

Masinga says they are excited at the number of new, young voters who came to register.

“We are pretty impressed with the level of activity in our voting stations. On the first day of the registration weekend on Saturday, we saw over 144 000 people showing up at 4 940 voting stations spread across the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Of those, over 35 000 were new registrations. We are also impressed by the level of young people between the ages of 18 and 21. We have over 20 000 of those in the province. We seem to have done well in the province compared to other provinces. KZN continues to lead. KZN is at the top of the list followed by Gauteng at 138 000 and the Eastern Cape by 114 000.”

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According to Presiding Officer, Tamanna Ganaspersadh, at the College Vale Primary School voter registration station at Overport in Durban, more youngsters chose to register online to vote in Durban.

Ganaspersadh says they had problems with the new Voter Management Device or VMD system.

“Most of them did online. We did find out that they said they registered online so that was the reason. Only our VMD was offline on Saturday and is offline on Sunday. So, that is the only problem. We have social distancing, sanitizing, the guard is actually checking temperatures. So, everything is in place, sanitizing after every person leaves; wiping the desk. We’re fogging everyday yesterday in the morning around this time. We only had about two and now it’s already 11 so we’re quite busy today.”

The three voting stations in Umsunduzi Ward 15 in the midlands that were closed on Saturday, reopened on Sunday afternoon. They were closed following a violent service delivery protest in the area.

IEC’s Regional Assistant Manager at Umgungundlovu District, Khulekani Mdadane, says, “Yes, I can confirm that the three voting stations opened. The first one opened around 11 today. The second one at 11:20. All voting stations are now open. Voters have started visiting these voting stations.”

The IEC in the Eastern Cape opened more than 4 000 voter registration sites across the province. This weekend was the last chance to register to vote in the local government elections set for the 1st of November. The IEC also put precautions in place to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations.

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In Motherwell, one of the biggest townships in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, it was hive of activity as the voters’ registration weekend neares its end.

Some of the residents voiced their eagerness to register and take part in changing and improving the level of service delivery in their area:

Meanwhile, as political parties come face-to-face in many of the wards they are contesting, some disagreements have emerged. It is alleged that some ANC members have tried to block EFF leader Julius Malema from monitoring voters’ registration at one of the stations in KwaDambuza.

Malema, who was eventually able to enter the voting station, says he will not allow any party to intimidate him.

“It’s madness. I mean, how can you block the entrance coming into a voting station. It’s very unfortunate, the ANC blocking the gate, there is nothing we can do. There’s no way we cannot come in here. We are here to check if our comrades are doing well here and it must be a free movement.”

Community members at Polly in the rural area of Greytown were reluctant to vote because of the new demarcation.

Zarina Luthuli says they want water in their community.

“Here, at Polly the biggest problem, we have is water. We don’t have water. We don’t have houses. Yes, others received them, but most of us didn’t, like me. I don’t have a house and I have lots of children. But our biggest need is water and a proper road.”

Regional Chairperson of the ANC in Inkosi Bhambatha Region, Lucky Moloi, says the ANC campaign was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

LGE 2021 | Update on the last day of the voter registration weekend: