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Police make gangland voting safe

2014-05-07 11:03
Police have provided security for voting in high risk areas. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Cape Town - There was a strong police presence in Cape Town's gang-plagued Manenberg area on Wednesday morning as residents streamed to voting stations to cast their ballots.

Uniformed and plain clothes officers patrolled the area around voting stations to ensure voting was not disrupted.

The area was relatively quiet except for the sound of conversations taking place in the queues that formed outside the polling stations.

Political parties set up their tables and mini-marquees a safe distance away from the voting activity.

The colours of the African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance and new kids on the block - the Patriotic Alliance (PA) -were clearly visible to the voting public at the Manenberg Community centre.

PA founder Gayton Mckenzie was expected to cast his ballot at this voting station.

Queues

McKenzie, a self-confessed former gangster, had previously stated that one of the motivations for forming the party was the gang violence in Manenberg which reached boiling point in 2013 and claimed many lives.

McKenzie won't wait long to cast his ballot after problems at the Manenberg community centre voting site were resolved, resulting in shorter queues than experienced earlier in the morning.

Voting was delayed for 45 minutes.

"The only hold-up is the ballot boxes. We are still waiting for them to arrive," said presiding officer Trevor Fortuin, explaining the delay.

Forty-year-old Sedick Abrahams was first in line at 05:45 and had to wait two hours to make his cross.

"I'm disappointed by the delay, but what can you do? You must just vote," Abrahams said.

"I would rather vote early and enjoy the rest of my day off." Abrahams said he had voted in every election since 1994 - South Africa's first democratic and all-race election.

Asked about his hopes and aspirations, he said: "My hopes died on the 5th of December 2013 when Madiba passed away. I will now vote for the opposition."

Other voting stations in the Manenberg area managed to open on time after receiving a sufficient number of voting materials.

Parents queued with their pyjama-clad children who appeared curious about what all the fuss was about.

Presiding officers at the Red River Primary School and Downs community centres said they experienced very few problems.

"Everything is running smoothly. We only received one ballot box before opening time at 7am [07:00]. They promised us four," said Cammy Williams, the presiding officer at Red River.

The other three ballot boxes arrived while the first batch of voters cast their ballots.

All voting stations should be open from 07:00 and close at 21:00.

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- SAPA
Read more on: cape town  |  elections 2014

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