Voting registration stations closed as Bekkersdal erupts

2013-11-09 12:50

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Seven voting stations have been closed down in Bekkersdal, in the West Rand, after violence broke out.

"Seven stations have temporarily closed," Gauteng Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) official Masego Sheburi said.

"[The stations] were forced to close because of activities in the vicinity of the stations. [We are]... making efforts to re-open them today still."

Sheburi said five stations were still operational.

No IEC officials were injured, he said.

Residents blocked roads and clashed with police in the area, eNCA reported. IEC officials were also reportedly chased out of the area.

Earlier today, police said they had a firm handle on the situation.

Violent protests erupted in the township outside Westonaria several weeks ago, with people demanding better service delivery and the removal of their mayor.

The protests were suspended last Sunday to allow government time to investigate residents’ grievances.

Residents set government buildings alight and children writing exams were taken out of school.

Residents reportedly said they would not allow the IEC into the area unless Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane apologised for comments she made during a recent visit to the area.

Last month, Mokonyane apparently told protesters in Bekkersdal, who did not want her to address them, that the ANC did not need their “dirty votes”.

Mokonyane said in a statement yesterday: “Given the situation currently and in the best interest of peace and stability, I really would want to apologise to those who may believe, or who were made to believe that I made such attacks to the residents of Bekkersdal.”

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