Cape Town - The IEC says videos circulating on social media of voters being racially segregated at a Wellington voting station have been taken out of context.
A Facebook post by student Chumani Siimane purportedly shows voters at the polling station divided into separate lines for whites and blacks. Siimane told IOL that a group of around 30 students travelled to the voting station from a nearby college in two minibus taxis.
Most of them were not registered at that particular station and fully understood that this would require them to fill in an additional form and exclude them from voting in the provincial election, she said.
According to Siimane, the IEC officials were initially reluctant to assist them and tried to send them to a different voting station some distance away but the students refused. She says they were also told to buy their own pens as there were not enough pens for them to fill out the required paperwork.
"When we were allowed to vote and we went into the voting station we saw there were separate ballot boxes for blacks and whites. Only then did we start thinking that this was racist," said Siimane.
"A group of students that are registered at a different voting district was voting in a voting district where they are not registered (where the vid was captured)," the IEC's Trevor Davids said.
"The Presiding officer, for practical purposes, placed them in a separate line to process as they need to complete a VEC4 form as stipulated under Section 24(a) of the Electoral Act before a ballot can be issued. The other line of voters was registered at that particular voting station and therefore would be more practical to vote separate.
That the two queues visually represented a categorised demographic, is coincidental."
South Africans are voting in the country's sixth general elections since the abolishment of apartheid 25 years ago.