Intermittent water and electricity supply, as well as unemployment, remain the main concerns for people in the Free State. Residents hope these elections will bring the change they need.
They hope to get basic services in return for their votes. A total of 1.4 million people in the province have registered to cast their ballots.
Some residents of Tumahole in Parys believe that elections are an opportunity to vote for change. They have bemoaned unemployment in the area.
“I also wish that we can have some more factories opened, so that our children can have some work because children are idling at the location, if your child is more than 30 years, more than 35 years staying with you, it’s a burden for you, he must work for himself,” says one of the residents.
In Mangopeng Warden, residents feel deserted by the Phumelela Municipality. The community has been living with no running water, inadequate housing and sanitation for more than ten years.
They say they will vote on Monday and hope they will get essential services. “I want to see changes not a Sandton life; I want this place to look like a habitable area,” says one of the residents.
Another resident says; “We want service delivery, we don’t have toilets, electricity, children walk to school, no transport.”
Few glitches experienced at Free State voting stations:
Plans afoot to avert electricity outage
Meanwhile, the IEC in the Free State says there are plans in place to avert any electricity outages at all voting stations. The commission says it does not expect any challenges regarding power cuts in Maluti-A-Phofung which suffered persistent power cuts in recent years.
Provincial IEC Communications Manager, Mmathabo Rasengane, says they purchased battery-operated lights in case of emergencies.
“We are ready, we have procured 900 LED lights, we have procured candles as a back-up and lighting and we have liaised with Eskom that promised that they will assist us, particularly in that municipality because we specifically spoke about Maluti-A-Phofung and Eskom is busy dealing with that matter. We don’t expect any challenges, but should we have those challenges then our led-lights will be used.”
Temporary voting stations
The Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality has also supplied electricity to 45 temporary voting stations ahead of the local government elections.
The embattled municipality has also raised concern over the vandalism of transformers in the area. Qwaqwa is the most affected area with frequent power cuts. Maluti-A-Phofung municipal spokesperson Thabo Kessah says they are ready for any eventualities.
“Maluti-A-Phofung has completed assessing 45 temporal voting stations that are already being assisted to ensure a smooth voting process. These temporal voting stations are part of the more than 280 stations that will mainly be used on Monday the first of November during the local government elections. The electrification of these voting stations will ensure proper counting of votes on Monday night.”
At the end of special votes over 40 000 people had already cast their ballots. -Reporting by Kamogelo Seekoei and Makgala Masiteng