‘Inequality a factor in planning election’

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helen voting Independent Newspapers Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille arrives at St Paul's Church in Rondebosch to cast her vote. Picture: Ian Landsberg

Cape Town - The IEC in the Western Cape has said inequalities in society had played a major role in planning and managing the elections.

IEC provincial officer Courtney Sampson said they had encountered “vast inequalities”.

“You are able to manage elections in areas that are so well resourced (and) then you have to look at areas where you have to struggle just to find a little bit of space to put up a tent because there’s no infrastructure,” Sampson said.

These inequalities “moved through our community like a sharp double-edged sword cutting both ways”.

Another challenge was the fact that many voters had made their marks in areas outside their voting districts.

“If people are moving into other voting stations, where they are not registered, we have to move ballot papers after them.”

The IEC had run out of ballot papers in some areas, including townships, Sea Point and Milnerton.

“Those are beach areas – its obvious what happened there and then also in the township communities people went to voting stations where they thought there were shorter queues,” Sampson said.

The IEC had planned for incident-free elections and had hoped the poll would be special because it was the first “without the first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela”.

“I know it was not perfect but I do know that we do have a team of people who want to continue to grow and continue to make a contribution.”

Sampson issued a stern warning to IEC officials who tried to abuse the system for political gain by working at particular voting stations.

“They are an enemy of our democracy. We would not want to see a situation where IEC officials make themselves guilty of untoward behaviour within the voting stations.”

When questioned about a tweet by DA leader Helen Zille saying “the IEC in Cape Town was chaotic”, Sampson said: “Helen Zille is entitled to her opinion and I’m entitled to mine.”

Cape Argus



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