Durban – The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in KwaZulu-Natal said on Monday that all voting stations across the province are operational despite facing several challenges in areas like Camperdown and Jozini earlier in the day.
The IEC’s acting provincial electoral officer Ntombifuthi Masinga said during a briefing that although some stations opened late, all polling stations would be closed at 9pm on Monday. She said people who were still in the queue near the time of closure will be catered for.
In the Umzinto area, the IEC had to find an alternative location for one of its polling stations after residents were allegedly threatened by some community members.
“We managed to open that voting station a bit late, it was the last one to open in the province after lunch today because we could not get a system to fill up the trenches that were dug overnight in that voting station.
“Upon accessing it, we were then confronted with the threats that if we were to open that voting station, the community was going to burn it down because it's a community hall. So we have moved to another facility within the precinct of the voting station.
“In terms of ward 15 in Jozini, they blocked the road and they said the issue there is that there is no service delivery,” Masinga said.
The acting electoral officer said that despite the disruptions in the voting process, and whether 10 or 10 000 people vote, the IEC would produce a result.
She revealed earlier on Monday that a few stations opened late in Camperdown between ward 2, 3 and 5 because of a traditional leadership dispute. Masinga said the commission had to get new staff members because locals who were the electoral officers were not comfortable and they were receiving threats.
The IEC also experienced challenges at voting stations in the uThukela region and in KwaMaphumulo, but were quickly resolved with the help of the SAPS.
With the local government elections drawing to a close, Masinga said that 1 263 352 people showed at stations but that number does not account for the 15-minute or so period, which the electronic voting system, or VMD, was down.
“What needed to happen after that is that people needed to restart their gadgets. So not everyone was fast enough in terms of restarting their gadgets at voting stations, but like I indicated that didn’t result in the voting process stopping.
“We have a manual certified voters roll that we keep at a voting station and we can still mark people off the certified voters roll and we can later punch in their numbers on the VMD so that they are also recorded on the system,” Masinga said.