Johannesburg - Thousands of visually impaired South Africans who participated in Wednesday's national elections grappled with several challenges, including officials trying to interfere as they cast their ballot, advocacy group Blind SA said on Friday.
The organisation said its 36 volunteer observers visited over 200 voting stations to ascertain whether blind and partially sighted voters were allowed a secret vote as prescribed by law.
"Tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted voters cast their vote at the (elections)," it said. "The majority of these voters did not have the secret vote since they were subjected to the presiding officers and in some instances in front of the party agents reading the list aloud to the blind voter."
In one instance, Daan van Niekerk who voted at Queenswood said he told the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) presiding officer that he wanted his trusted friend to fill in the ballot paper on his behalf at the polling booth.
"She said that she has to vote for me and that she would not allow my friend to vote for me ... This is the first time since 1994 that I had this argument," van Niekerk said, adding that he eventually prevailed in the argument.