Bekkersdal - First-time voters in Bekkersdal, west of Johannesburg, on Wednesday were looking forward to voting and making a difference in the country.
"I'm happy about voting for the first time because I feel that my vote will make a difference," said 20-year-old Siya Ntselemane.
Another first-time voter, Kgaogelo Machakela, 22, said he hoped his vote would lead to change. He said although he had not decided who to vote for, his cross would not go to the African National Congress.
"The ANC is not doing anything for us. I have not decided who I'm voting for, but I will not vote for the ANC," he said.
Machakela said he wanted to see the creation of more jobs and people not depending on grants.
Ntselemane echoed the sentiments but said he knew who would get his vote.
"I'm going to vote for the DA [Democratic Alliance]. It appears she [Helen Zille] will bring better service delivery to our area," he said.Tent torching
Nineteen-year-old Odwa Molweni also expressed faith in Zille's leadership.
He said it was time to give other political parties a chance.
The turnout of youth at many of the voting stations in the township was extremely low but the Electoral Commission of SA said it was optimistic the numbers would pick up as the day went on.
Earlier in the morning, IEC provincial electoral officer Masego Sheburi said: "It is a concern, but it is still early days. We are hoping the youth will come out later in the day."
Sheburi said they would have preferred people going to vote early in the morning. He praised the spirit and resilience of the elderly following the torching of the voting station tent.
"They have been here since before break of dawn even before we had a structure. They were still standing here and saying they are going to vote and would wait for as long as it takes to establish your voting station," he said.
Sheburi said the torching of their tent put a dampener on proceedings but they were expecting a high voter turnout in the area.
"We pitched our tent yesterday to ensure we could start on time but because our tent was burnt, it means we started late. But all stations are operational now," he said.
There was a heavy police presence in the area with at least 10 police vehicles and a military truck parked at the station. A police helicopter was flying over the area. More police and military vehicles were parked at the entrance to the township while others were patrolling the streets.
All voting stations should be open from 07:00 and close at 21:00.Download the app by visiting one of these app stores.
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