Hiccups delay voting in some areas


Johannesburg - Voting in the national and provincial elections was still to get under way by 8.30am at Everest informal settlement in Springs, east of Johannesburg.

About 20 voters started to queue at 8am.

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Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille arrives at St Paul's Church in Rondebosch to cast her vote. Picture: Ian LandsbergCope president Mosiuoa Lekota casts his vote in Bloemfontein. Picture: Sapa

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), escorted by six police vehicles, arrived just before 8am.

“I woke up early to vote only to be told that there was no place to cast my vote,” said Lucas Hlongwane.

About 10 young people told Sapa that they were not going to vote.

“This government is useless. Why should I vote? Nothing has changed, and we still live like pigs. There is no running water or toilets,” said disgruntled resident Phumlani Radebe.

Some of the nearby residents carried on with their normal household chores, such as washing.

“Today is like any other day, I am doing my washing and after that I am going to buy a couple of beers and stand here on my stoep and watch these sell-outs vote,” said Dumisani Khumalo.

A strong contingent of police continued to keep watch in the area.

Meanwhile in Cape Town, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille arrived at St Paul's Church in Rondebosch to cast her vote.

Accompanied by her husband Johann, Zille was dropped off down the road and she walked up to the polling station. She was greeted by groups of ululating DA supporters dressed in party colours.

Wearing a long purple coat over a black skirt and purple top, Zille had on a purple necklace and matching heels.

“The election is a platform to be able to change government peacefully,” the DA leader told media outside the church.

She said the DA was looking ahead to the next election and the one thereafter.

Asked how she thought her party might do in the polls, she said: “We will see at the end of the day. I don't like to speculate. Our goal in this election is to do better than in the last one.”

Zille is set to fly to Port Elizabeth after casting her vote where, she told journalists, she was “expecting a big improvement” in the DA's performance in that province.

There had been a 40-minute delay at the voting station, IEC spokesman Trevor Davids said earlier in the morning.

“We were aware of the problems but all those issues have been resolved,” Davids said.

“There were issues to do with materials and, if they are not there at the time, the station cannot be declared open.

“There were hiccups earlier but all the stations in that ward are now operational.”

Peter Fisher, local chair of the Democratic Alliance for Ward 59, which includes Rondebosch and Claremont, said there were many delays in the district.

“Of the eight voting stations in the district, there are problems with six.”

Fisher said he was also aware of a problem in the Steenberg area.

In Mpumalanga, the IEC was accused of breaching its own laws by not opening its polling stations on time, the Economic Freedom Fighters said.

“I am deeply disappointed,” EFF party agent Repo Collins Leutle said in Witbank.

“They were meant to be here from 7am,” said Leutle.

He was speaking outside the Witbank Correctional Centre in Mpumalanga where the facility's prisoners were expected to vote.

“Them not informing the prison officials (that they will be late) means they've breached their own legislation,” said Leutle.

IEC officials who were meant to set up the voting station before 7am had not arrived by 8.30am.

“It must be corrected. We want to see our people cast their votes,” said Leutle.

He explained that he and a colleague of his were simply there to observe the voting processes.

Earlier, he was asked to put away his EFF poster which depicted the face of the party's leader, Julius Malema.

“We aren't here to campaign,” said Leutle.

“We aren't given an opportunity to campaign but prisoners do know about us because they have access to media,” he said.

“They watch TV and read newspapers.”

A prison official quipped that the IEC took for granted the fact that the prisoners “had no other plans”.

“They are doing this 'cause they know they (the prisoners) aren't going anywhere,” said the prison official dressed in his brown uniform.

Meanwhile, more prisoners clad in their orange uniforms had begun walking around on the prison grounds on the other side of the thick, barbed-wire mesh. - Sapa

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