It's all systems go for elections, says IEC
The Electoral Commission (IEC) says it is all systems go for the sixth democratic national and provincial elections on Wednesday.
"The country's 22,924 voting stations are all poised and ready to open at 7am ... to welcome voters. They will remain open until 9pm when counting is scheduled to begin. However, voting will continue after 9pm where voters are waiting in the queue," the IEC said.
"The past two days of special voting have helped to iron out any teething problems and ensure everything is in place and ready."
Among the challenges the IEC encountered on Monday and Tuesday were the security of elections, accidents, processes not followed and the weather.
"The Electoral Commission is encouraged to note a significant decline in community protests this week. In those instances where protest action did continue the police were very quick to intervene to restore calm."
The IEC said a minimum of two police officers would be deployed to each voting station and the SAPS would remain on high alert in high-risk areas to ensure there were no disruptions to the elections.
"In one apparent crime-related incident on Monday a group of knife-wielding men confronted a group of election officials conducting home visits in Giyani, Limpopo, and confiscated 93 unused provincial ballot papers which they destroyed.
"Fortunately no one was injured and the cast ballots (7) were secured and not affected. The SAPS were quick to respond and two suspects have been arrested and are now in police custody."
According to the IEC, two vehicle accidents involving election staff were reported over the past two days but only minor injuries were sustained.
The IEC reminded voters to ensure they adhered to the following rules before visiting voting stations:
- They must be registered to vote.
- They must take a valid ID document which is either a green bar-coded ID book, a smartcard ID or a valid temporary ID certificate.
- Voters whose addresses are not reflected on the voters' roll will be required to provide their address prior to voting. Proof of address is not required.
- If voters are voting in a voting station in their province they will be handed two ballot papers – one for the national election and one for the provincial election.
- Voters should ensure these ballot papers are stamped at the back by an election official.
- Voters then cast their ballots and place their marked ballot papers into a ballot box.
- Voters are reminded that the secrecy of the vote is protected by law and it is an offence to take a photograph of a marked ballot.