Voters registering despite protests and bad weather in places, says IEC
Despite sporadic community protests at some voting stations and bad weather in some areas, voter registration is in full swing throughout South Africa, the Electoral Commission said on Saturday.
It said that in all but a small minority of voting stations, registration was reported to be proceeding “smoothly and efficiently” at 11am.
It added that reports from the various provinces confirmed the opening of approximately 99 percent of the 22,925 voting stations on time and a steady stream of eligible voters visiting stations to register and update their registration details.
“Among the challenges experienced by registration officials at the start of the final registration weekend included dealing with inclement weather conditions in a number of provinces which had affected access to voting stations especially due to flooding or impassable roads. In particular, voting stations located in tents were affected by strong winds and heavy rains in the eastern Free State, parts of Gauteng, the coastal regions of KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Limpopo,” the IEC said in an update.
In most cases however the affected voting stations were reported to be operational by 11am once tents had been re-pitched and access to voting stations restored with the help of disaster management teams and security agencies, it said.
“A second area of challenge was the impact of sporadic community protests which affected the opening and operations of several voting stations around the country. Reports have been received of voting stations which were unable to open on time due to access to the station being prevented by protest action including barricaded roads.
“As at 11am today approximately 140 voting stations (0.6%) around the country were not yet open due to community protests,” the commission said.
Areas that reported community protests included:
- Eastern Cape: Amahlati; Mbizana; Thabankulu
- Free State: Bloemfontein (Khayelitsha)
- Gauteng: Tshwane (Mooiplaas; Pienaarspoort); Ekurhuleni (Kathlehong; Boksburg; Sebokeng); West Rand (Munsieville); Johannesburg (Lawley; Ivory Park)
- KwaZulu-Natal: Ulundi; uMsunduzi; Ndwedwe;
- Limpopo: Elias Motsoaledi; Polokwane; Ramamabolo; Giyani;
- Mpumalanga: Gert Sibande; Sekunda; Bushbuckridge
- North West: Rustenburg
- Northern Cape: Dikgatlhong
- Western Cape: Gugulethu
“In all affected areas the situation is being monitored and IEC officials are working closely with the state security agencies to open the voting stations as soon as possible and safe for both eligible voters and election officials.
“While the Electoral Commission appreciates the rights of South Africans to peacefully protest and raise issues of concern, it appeals to all communities to exercise this right in a way which does not deny the rights of other citizens to register and vote.
“The Electoral Commission urges all South Africans to make use of the final opening of voting stations this weekend to register and update addresses for the upcoming national and provincial elections,” the IEC said.