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
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
“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
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
“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
Download the app by visiting one of these app stores.