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Pretoria - Hundreds of offenders lined up on Wednesday morning to cast their vote at the Kgosi Mampuru II voting station at Pretoria Central Correctional facility and patiently waited as the station opened nearly an hour late.
But, as one of them commented, they have plenty of time in prison and they are used to waiting.
It appeared that the IEC were late setting up.
Acting National Commissioner of Correctional services Nontsikelelo Jolingana was there just after 7am to oversee the start of the voting.
“It is very important for offenders to vote and we encourage them to make their mark. Although we do not allow political parties to canvas inside prison, we do allow them to receive pamphlets setting out the views of the different parties.”
There are 7 484 offenders in the Pretoria area, and many are expected to vote at the three polling stations at the correctional facility.
As the women may not mix with the male offenders, they cast their votes at the female section, while the sentenced prisoners voted inside the old section known as Pretoria Central.
Awaiting trial prisoners voted at a third voting station known as Pretoria Local.
According to Jolingana, all prisoners – no matter their classification – will be allowed to vote. These include prisoners kept at maximum security facilities. They will, however, vote under circumstances suited to their classification.
Everything ran smoothly at Pretoria Central, with guards only allowing a certain number of offenders into the voting station at a time.
It was clear that the offenders took casting their votes seriously , with many commenting that they hoped for a better country once they left prison.
Jobs were on their wish list, as well as that their families outside would have a better life.