A voting station at the Panorama Palms Retirement Village where the elderly and those pregnant can cast the special votes ahead of voting day. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

Durban - Some frail elderly voters in Ulundi, Zululand, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s hometown, had to be assisted by their children to put a cross on the ballot paper as they could not recognise their preferred parties on the long list.

Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials started as early as 8 am to visit homes of special voters.

Gqinqo Mnyandu, 64, had to call her son to assist him to vote. After she had received a voting mark on her thumb, she and her son Sipho went to a bedroom to vote in privacy.

When asked how she felt about voting, Mnyandu, who complained about pains in her body, said: “Is this voting going to take away my pains?”

“I have been voting for years but I have not seen any change brought by this voting into my life.

“All my children are unemployed although I have been voting since I was a young woman. We don’t have flushing toilets and low-cost houses in my village,” she said.

Because of her ill-health, Mnyandu had to frequently visit a local clinic.

“Nurses are very slow in that clinic. If I arrive at 7.30 am I stay there for the whole day and only leave the clinic when they (nurses) knock off at 4: 30 pm.

“The leaders should change all those things for me to see the result of my vote, and bring hope for my children,” she said.  

Other voters could not vote as they did not have their IDs with them when IEC officials visited their homes.

At NFP leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi’s Thokoza village, the IEC visited homes of 16 special voters of which most of them were frail women because of ill-health and aging.

Egnes Mahaye, 82, did not vote as she could not produce IDs to officials and party agents visited her home.

“I was admitted at the hospital and my ID was with my daughter-in-law. I am disappointed that I am not voting today because somewhere last month came here and confirmed that I am registered to vote.

“I want to vote as I have been always voting since the start of democracy,” said Mahaye.

The Independent Media also witnessed another elderly women who could not vote because she had misplaced her ID.

However, Princess Ntombela, 53, was ecstatic to among the first to vote. She said he voted for her village to get water as it would depend on water tankers for months. She applied to be a special voter as she could not walk after she had sustained an injury at work.

“I am very happy that I am among the first people to vote, I like voting because without voting, the country will be without leaders.

“I am also happy with the treatment I received from the IEC,” she said.

Political Bureau