Tshwane’s election ups and downs

2011-05-18 12:57

Five voting stations in ward 44, the Democratic Alliance’s biggest stronghold in the Tshwane metro, ran out of ballot papers this morning.

But stock was replenished before a crisis developed at one of the voting stations in Glenwood Street, where DA ward councillor Karen Meyer was keeping an eye on proceedings.

Falling down a raw brick staircase, she became one of the first victims of election day. She survived the fall with a number of burning, bloody scrape wounds.

Voters began lining up at sunrise at most of the metro’s suburban and township voting stations.

Apart from a lack of ballot papers at certain voting stations, some scanners gave electoral officials headaches.

A polling station in Nellmapius had only one ID scanner for about 7 000 voters, resulting in a queue about a kilometre long.

And at Lynnwood Laerskool the voting station’s only scanner gave up the ghost, slowing down voting for hours.

The presiding officer at the Nellmapius Primary School, Tony Sibayi, said it was a struggle to deal with such a big voting area with only one ID scanner.

The IEC had told Sibayi to continue without scanning some voters’ identity documents, which meant election officers had to individually check the names against the voters’ roll.

As a result of the large roll, some voters started queuing at 3am this morning.

Some complained about the elderly not having made use of special votes earlier in the week. “They come in taxis and push into the lines,” said 40-year-old Susan Jafta. They should have cast their votes earlier.”

But many voters praised the IEC’s arrangements at voting stations.

At Gatang High School in Mamelodi, long queues of people, assisted by friendly IEC staff, were able to cast their votes with a minimum of problems.

“I am impressed,” said community leader Norman Bavumile.

Pointing out that voting station boss Norma Mgwenya had been very helpful, he said the IEC standards were very high.

“Even those old ladies there in the front”, he added, “are very happy”.

At the Glenwood voting centre, IEC staff greeted voters with smiles and invited the ward’s army of old people to sit on chairs while their IDs were scanned.

“It is a pleasure to vote here,” said Faan Botha.

Voting proceeded without problems in the township of Atteridgeville.

By 4pm more than 1 500 voters cast their votes at the Bokgoni High School, said voting chief McGregor Shibisi.

“We had no problems”, he said.

Many voters were still arriving and queueing at the voting station in the last two hours before the polls closed.

The ANC coordinator for ward 51, Stene Maduna, reckoned that his party had made “a clean sweep” in all the Atteridgeville voting districts.

The party posted a team at a table outside the voting station to help its voters.

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