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I'm voting for peace - hijack victim

2014-05-06 17:12
IEC
(Picture: AP)
Johannesburg - “I am voting because all I want is peace,” says 40-year-old Nicole*, a hijack victim, who cast her first special vote on Tuesday.

Seven years ago, Nicole’s life changed forever when she was hijacked at gunpoint in Weltevreden Park, Johannesburg.

Her father told City Press: “They followed her from an ATM in the nearby area, then held her at gunpoint when she stopped at the robot. They shot her in the mouth and ran off.”

Nicole, who is wheelchair-bound as a result, said voting was important to her as it was her way of participating in how the country was run.

“I do appreciate the special vote. A lot of stuff still needs to happen in our country,” she said. Nicole said often, the needs of people with disabilities were seen as secondary and this needed to change.

“I accept my disability, I’m fine with it,” she said.

Nicole now lives at home with her mother and father. She has a full-time nurse.

Her father said: “She used be a very normal girl. Very active, very athletic.”

Nicole’s face beamed as an IEC official gave her a ballot to cast her vote. Her shaking hand held the pen tightly as she made her mark.

Nicole is among close to 500 000 special voters in these elections.

Special voters

A special vote is granted to people who can’t make it to the polling stations on the day of the national elections because of disability, illness or old age.

All over South Africa, IEC officials have been making house calls for special votes.

“The most challenging thing about this process is when people blame us when they are not registered and thus aren’t allowed to vote,” said Shamin Garib, an IEC presiding officer.

Garib said often, when visiting old-age homes, residents said they did not now they could apply for a special vote. “It’s not nice having to turn people away.”

Garib said more needed to be done to educate voters on special votes. On a number of occasions, Garib and other IEC officials had arrived at special voters’ homes only to be told that they were out on errands.

Garib said special votes were for people who were immobile because of illness or disability, not because they did not want to queue on the day.

She urged voters to arrive early at voting stations on Wednesday.

“The earlier you come, the earlier you can leave,” she said. “Also make sure you bring your green bar-coded ID and, most importantly, make sure you are registered.”

*Not her real name

 

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Read more on: johannesburg  |  elections 2014

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