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Hot contestation between ANC and EFF in Seshego

01 November 2021 - 12:33
Itumeleng Swartland arrived at Mpongele Primary School in a wheelchair, accompanied by his son, Nana, where he was to cast his vote for the local government elections.
Itumeleng Swartland arrived at Mpongele Primary School in a wheelchair, accompanied by his son, Nana, where he was to cast his vote for the local government elections.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times

Yellow T-shirts filled one side of the road while red T-shirts filled the other at Seshego, as the ANC and EFF battled for the hearts of voters on Monday.

Itumeleng Swartland, who lives with a disability and is in a wheelchair, arrived at Mpongele Primary School accompanied by his young son to cast his vote in the local government elections.

He bemoaned the lack of facilities for people with disabilities.

“I’m happy to be here voting and I am hoping the candidate I will vote for will take care of my needs and consider people like me when it comes to planning and executing things for people like me in this area,” said Swartland.

“We’ve suffered a lot under those currently in power. They’ve lied to us a lot,” he said.

The three steps leading into the voting station made it impossible for him to manoeuvre his wheelchair into the building. Instead, the ballot was brought to him by IEC officials and two party candidates. He cast his vote, put the document in the envelopes and handed it back to the officials.

Outside the premises, the ANC and EFF made their presence felt, erecting tents and putting up banners on either side of the road. 

Similar contrasts could be seen as one entered the area. A large billboard was erected across a four-lane road leading into Seshego from Polokwane. On one side of the billboard, stood an EFF ad with party leader Julius Malema’s face plastered on it. On the other, was ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

Inside the premises of the primary school, where the voting was to take place, there was a big blue Clicks tent where people were given the option of “killing two birds with one stone” — vaccinating and voting.

Staff working at the centre said things had got off to a slow start, with about six people being vaccinated by 10am.

In Polokwane, 76-year-old Mosima Moepa, who walks using a walking stick, arrived at Mothiba Primary School at the Ga-Mothiba village on the back of a van.

A green mattress had been laid at the back for her to sit comfortably.

The driver parked metres from the door of the voting station, placed a crate at the foot of the van and helped Moepa out along with Maria Mothiba, who hails from the royal homestead.

The two elderly women were helped inside, assisted some by officials, and headed to the voting booths.

Elections started slowly at Ga-Mothiba in Polokwane, with elderly people being brought to vote on bakkies.
Elections started slowly at Ga-Mothiba in Polokwane, with elderly people being brought to vote on bakkies.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times

A few seconds later, Moepa asked for help and two party officials stood close by as the voting process was explained to her by an IEC official. She then turned her back and started casting her vote.

Speaking to TimesLIVE afterwards, Moepa said she was happy with how the voting process had gone.

“It was OK, I’m happy,” she said.

Sixty-seven-year-old Mothiba agreed.

“I’m happy with things here and I’ve voted who I was voting for before,” she said.

“Things are working fine in this area,” she said.

Just a few metres away from her, a few children walked past the voting station, pushing wheelbarrows of water.

Voting stations had been empty, with a few people trickling in now and then.

Some people walked about the village in ANC T-shirts, while others donned red EFF berets. Posters, mostly of the ACDP, were plastered on the poles leading to the primary school.

The ANC is currently governing the area.

TimesLIVE



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