High voter turnout in metro by-elections


A MAN was arrested after a group of toyi-toyiing people disrupted voting in the Nelson Mandela Bay by-elections at a Uitenhage polling station last night.

Earlier, voting got off to a good start in all eight wards holding by-elections yesterday.

IEC regional supervisor Crosby Bacela said the group had been protesting about a tent used as a polling station in Ward 53.

“They claimed that the voting station was illegal and tried to stop some of the IEC staff from performing their duties. We had to call police to intervene and one man was arrested.”

It was not clear last night which party the protesters were supporting.

Voter turnout is expected to be 50 per cent or more. Full results will be released today.

While some voting stations got off to a quiet start in the early morning, hundreds of people later queued outside waiting to vote at the George Botha Hall in Kwanoxolo.

The presiding officer at the station, Buntu Matsha, said that by 11am more than 380 people had already voted and 3961 people were on the voters‘ roll. “We are expecting people to come in a bit later.”

The queue stretched from the entrance of the hall to the street.

Matsha said there were tensions among the political parties, but everyone was well behaved.

However an elderly woman, Liziwe Simani, accused an election officer of misleading her to vote for another party instead of her party of choice.

Simani said: “I told her I couldn‘t read and write. She took me to the voting booth and asked me which party I wanted to vote for. I told her ANC but she showed somewhere else to put the cross. It was not the ANC emblem.”

Simani refused to go and said she wanted her ballot paper to be taken out so she could vote again.

Matsha said the incident was a case of misunderstanding. “The official told the woman that she should place the cross on the party of her choice in the first row, but the woman interpreted that as the top of the ballot and for the first party.”

Presiding officers in other wards reported a slow turnout in the morning, but by noon people started to trickle in.

In Ward 54 at Ncedo High School in Motherwell, presiding officer Thabo Bailey said that between 7am and 8am there had been 32 voters. “Everything is running smoothly. There were just a couple of people who were turned away because they were not registered.”

Nonkoliso Kula, from area 29 in NU12, who was outside the school, said although she had been disappointed with previous councillor Lindikhaya Matebese, she would continue to vote to make sure there was change.

“I want the person I‘m voting for to concentrate on the rectification of RDP houses and the tarring of roads.”

Bacela said no incidents had been reported apart from complaints from voters who had been turned away because they did not meet the requirements of registering for the by-elections.

There was also a heavy police presence at all the polling stations.

Source :The Herald

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