719 Boys from Bekkersdal west of Johannesburg clean up after a tent that was going to be a voting station was set alight allegedly by the community. 060514 PICTURE: Boxer Ngwenya

Bekkersdal -

The residents of Bekkersdal, south-west of Johannesburg, expressed mixed feelings over the heavy security in the township as hundreds headed to the polls on Wednesday.

There were dozens of police and military vehicles parked at the entrance to the township, while many others were parked at the voting stations.

One resident, who declined to give her name, said she was happy with voting but expressed anger over the burning of an Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) tent.

“I don't feel safe even though there are so many police officers here today. I was sad in the morning when I saw the tent burnt,” she said.

Another resident who also asked not to be named said he arrived at the Development Hub voting station at 5am but found it burnt. He, along with a small group, then decided to have a prayer session with their ID books held aloft.

“I welcome their presence to assist us in exercising our democratic right to vote. I hope the day will go without any incidents,” he said.

Nosisa Khenene, who was the first person to vote, expressed joy after making her mark in the tent.

“I'm very happy, I was waiting for this day for so long. I was afraid I would not be able to vote because of the things that were happening in the area,” she said.

Philani Nene was also “very happy that I got to vote”.

“I exercised my right so that I can also be able to say, 'Amandla', (power) and hold my leaders accountable,” he said. - Sapa