Complaints in Pretoria east about waiting for ballots, voting stations opening late

People queue waiting to vote at Willows Methodist church in Equestria. Picture: Zelda Venter

People queue waiting to vote at Willows Methodist church in Equestria. Picture: Zelda Venter

Published Nov 1, 2021


Pretoria - Voters around Pretoria east made the most of the sunshine and many turned to their voting stations on Monday -some with their dogs on leases and others accompanied by their children - to make their mark in the 2021 municipal elections.

Many voters complained that things did not run as smoothly as they had hoped for, with some voting stations opening late as they had to wait for the ballots to arrive.

Others complained that some of the voting stations were not well organised during opening time. But within an hour or two of being opened, it seemed as if most of the hiccups in the area of Ward 85 were sorted out.

Pensioner Lulu Boshoff, who voted at the Willows Methodist Church in Equestria, said although she is a pensioner, she had to wait for more than an hour before she could cast her vote.

“The whole set-up here is not well organised due to the fact that they don’t know where the pensioners must go and in which row you must stand.”

Boshoff, however, said it was worth the wait, as she felt it her duty to cast her vote.

Jacqui Uys, a candidate for ward 85, who was also at the Willows Methodist Church hailed the great turnout at this voting station. She said they are trying to get as many votes as possible through the voting stations to ensure a fair and democratic process. “So, it might be that you will sometimes have to spend some time in a queue.” Uys said there are sometimes some problems at voting stations, such as this one.

“At this station, for example, there was a machine which was not working and they had to fix that. There were also some logistical issues in trying to get people in the correct queue as there are three different streams according to surnames.”

But Uys said it seemed that all of it had been sorted out by mid morning.

“If you have a problem, just let a representative resolve it.”

Uys said most of the voting stations in this ward opened somewhere between 7am and 7.30am. Some had to wait for ballots and ballot boxes.

“But once they had opened the process is followed and people get to vote. Just be patient when you get to your voting station and make your democratic mark,” she urged.

Voter Dunstan Morugu, who had made his mark early in the morning, said he could not complain about the process. “It went well and I was not standing in the queue for too long. I was excited to cast my vote as it is the right thing to do.“

Morgue said he had no doubt as to which party he wanted to vote for.

He jokingly added that he and his wife made their mark for different parties and candidates, but as it is a democratic process, he respected this.

Colette Brighton, who voted at Tygerpoort Primary School in Pretoria east, said she especially woke up very early to be one of the first to cast her votes, as she had to work later in the day.

She hoped that it would be smooth going, but she was disappointed to find that there were some hiccups.

“At one minute past seven they came to tell us there were no ballot papers and that the ballot papers are in Bronkhorstspruit, which is a 45 minutes drive. I decided to wait, which turned out to be a two hour wait as they first assisted the pensioners.”

According to Brighton one of the pensioners, who also had to wait for some time, was so upset that the police were called in to calm the voter.

Bastiaan Vermooten who voted at Wierda Park Primary School in Centurion, said he was at the voting station long before 7am, but he was only done around 9am.

“I don't really know what the hold-up was, but while I think things could have been organised better, I'm sure that they did their best,” Vermooten said.

Pretoria News