Union members disrupt voting in North West

A police officer provides security outside a voting station. Photo: AP

A police officer provides security outside a voting station. Photo: AP

Published May 18, 2011


Protesting National Union of Mineworkers members disrupted proceedings at the Karee Mine voting station in Marikana near Rustenburg on Wednesday.

The group ordered Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials to close the voting station until their problem had been resolved, presiding officer Aubrey Koloko said.

The workers were not happy that their branch secretary and chairman had been suspended. They would not explain who, between their union or their employer, had suspended them.

In a note handed to the IEC official, they demanded that Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi come and speak to them. They vowed not to vote until their leaders were reinstated.

Police kept an eye on the hundreds of mineworkers, who brandished knobkerries as they left the voting station.

“We are coming back,” they said, waving knobkerries at the IEC officials.

Koloko said 11 people had voted since the station opened at 7am.

Outgoing ward councillor Nosipho Dabe said 1 700 people were expected to vote at the Karee Mine voting station.

The ANC and DA have fielded candidates in all 38 wards of the Rustenburg municipality. Seven independent candidates are competing in six wards.

Earlier one voter, Meikie Janties, complained that it was difficult for disabled people such as herself to vote.

“I wanted to vote, but the voting station is not accessible. This infringes on my human rights as a person with a disability.”

Three men lifted Janties in her wheelchair to enable her to enter the voting station at the Lethabong Community Creche.

Construction workers maintaining the road had left a heap of soil in front of the gate, making it inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.

Janties said she had applied for a special vote, but was not visited by an Independent Electoral Commission official during the two days set aside for special votes.

“I wanted to vote and I will,” said Janties as she was wheeled into the voting station. - Sapa

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