Wits students wait to cast first vote

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Copy of AM Elections Dube PM 771 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Palesa Mogoai checks her ID after voting for the first time at Sizanani Primary school in Dube, Soweto. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg -

Hundreds of University of Witwatersrand students waited to vote for the first time in South Africa's fifth general elections on Wednesday.

Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) presiding officer at the university's voting station Justice Lieta said more than 3 000 people had already made their mark.

“We have close to 4 000 people on our voters' roll. More than 3 000 have already voted. We also have people who have not registered here casting their votes.”

He said the station had been busy since the doors opened at 7am.

“It has been a very hectic day. Staff have been rotating and taking breaks.”

Their biggest problem was the number of voting booths.

“We didn't have enough voting booths, only three. Then, after 10am, three more arrived.”

Most of the people voting at the venue were students and university employees.

Sinethemba Memela, 20, from Bizana in the Eastern Cape, was one of millions of “born-frees” around the country voting for the first time. She had spent an hour waiting in line.

“Democracy means that you need to have a say in who is representing you. I voted because I feel the ruling party is very arrogant, and does not listen to its people.”

The third-year law student said it was unfair that post-apartheid black people were still living in townships and paying rent in suburbs while whites owned houses and land.

“The ruling party doesn't focus enough on land redistribution. All we have is a bill. They are not serious enough about this.”

BComm finance student Pretty Madiba waited more than two hours to vote. The 23-year-old Honours student said the voting process was disorganised.

“They said the paper for the voters' roll was finished.”

She did not feel anything special after voting for the first time.

“I don't think there's anything that can be done to improve the situation for younger people. I am happy with the government.

“I am funded here at Wits by a government bursary. Back home in Polokwane, the area we live in has sanitation, proper roads, access to information, schools, and RDP houses.” - Sapa



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