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Northern Cape set for boozy poll

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Voting stations will be open from 7am until 9pm on Wednesday. The results are expected to be announced within three to seven days after the elections are concluded. Picture: Danie Van der Lith

Kimberley -

The people of Kimberley will have more to celebrate than just Election Day on Wednesday… all the pubs, bars and taverns will be allowed to stay open for 24 hours a day for the entire week.

In anticipation of the upcoming election celebrations, the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, John Block, on Monday relaxed liquor trading hours.

Restrictions on liquor trading hours for on-site consumption establishments, such as bars, taverns and restaurants, have been suspended from May 5 to 10, as provided for in the Provincial liquor legislation. These establishments can now operate 24 hours a day.

This concession will not apply to off-sales liquor stores in the Province, such as bottle stores and grocery stores.

Block, however, cautioned that liquor should be consumed in moderation during this period.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has urged voters not to spoil their ballots on Wednesday.

The voting stations will be open from 7am until 9pm. The results are expected to be announced within three to seven days after the elections are concluded.

IEC Provincial Electoral Officer in the Northern Cape Bonolo Modise said that it was all systems go for the big day with 600 000 ballot papers already delivered.

“An additional 60 000 ballots have been allocated in the event that they were incorrectly marked and need to be replaced.”

Former Minister Ronnie Kasrils who initiated the no vote campaign, encouraged voters to spoil their ballots or vote for any alternative party other than the ANC, in order to express their lack of confidence in the current political leadership.

Modise said that a spoilt ballot included papers that were not clearly marked, where more than one party was selected or if a line or swear word was drawn through the paper.

“A cross, tick or circle within the chosen block is acceptable. If someone has genuinely made a mistake, they can request the presiding officer for a clean ballot paper. Those who are illiterate and need assistance can also request help.”

He added that “selfies” as well as photographs of the ballot paper taken with a cellphone or camera would be prohibited inside the voting booths.

He said the counting of votes would begin immediately after the voting stations had closed at 9pm.

“Anyone who is in the queue by 9pm will still be allowed to vote. Once the stations are closed no one will be allowed inside or out, to allow the counting process to begin. We have employed 5 531 workers to assist with voting and counting in the Province.”

Modise estimated that counting should be completed by Friday.

He stated that the police would ensure that there were no incidents of intimidation. “We have daily meetings with the police and receive updates.”

A possible hot spot is Kuruman where the community has threatened to disrupt voting because they are demanding a tarred road.

Modise indicated that political parties had up until midnight on Tuesday to campaign.

The police have confirmed their readiness for the national general election, where members were deployed to all corners of the Province from April 28 to May 12.

Brigadier Masebueng Mochologi-Maleeme said that all senior managers and officers, including generals, brigadiers and colonels, would be on duty.

The Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, has also appealed to employers to allow employees to vote on Election Day.

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