Mmusi Maimane (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)
Johannesburg - Political parties have spent the weekend
criss-crossing the country trying to encourage citizens to register to vote in
this year's local government elections.
The ANC on Sunday took its voter registration campaign
into the heart of rural KwaZulu-Natal.
Treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, who was also the former
premier, toured villages in the province's central highland.
Mkhize was welcomed in the district of Emaswazini near
Taylor's Halt amidst much fanfare.
Speaking to News24 ahead of his address, Mkhize said that
they were on the campaign trail in an effort to "mobilise the young".
DA leader Mmusi Maimane jetted off to Nelson Mandela Bay,
an ANC stronghold, on Sunday to speak to prospective voters.
Speaking at the Richmond Hill voter registration station,
Maimane said the ANC was undermining efforts of creating a reconciled South
Africa by fabricating lies and accusing the DA of being a white party.
"Look around you. These are South Africans first and
foremost. They are South Africans from all walks of life," he said.
"The ANC's message that this party is white and that
party is black is their effort to undermine democracy. We are not in the
business of building a party for any particular race, we are in the business of
building a party for all South Africans."
Maimane was accompanied by Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral
candidate Athol Trollip.
Central to this year's local government elections will be
the battle for the country's major metros. The DA and the EFF have vowed to
take control of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay from the ANC.
‘Ready to make a
DA Johannesburg mayoral candidate Herman Mashaba was at
the Sandton Fire Station on Sunday checking his registration details.
The Black Like Me founder said he had spent the weekend
visiting voting stations around the city and speaking to citizens.
"Honestly, people of this country are ready to make
a change," he told News24.
"This is going to be another game changer and I
think we as the DA are ready for the challenge."
In Mamre, in the Western Cape, where DA Cape Town mayoral
candidate Patricia de Lille was making her rounds on Sunday, party agents sang
"Zuma out, Mmusi in, we are ready for 2016".
De Lille went from door to door in the town, speaking to
News24 caught up with some first time voters on Sunday.
Marilene Els who registered to vote for the first time in
Bloemfontein said she was happy that she would finally be able to make a
difference through the ballot box.
"Everyone needs to vote because we all have voices
and we all live in this country and we just need to make a difference,"
"A lot has been happening in this country and
sometimes you are literally scared to get out of your own house, so it is good
Mpho, also a first-time voter who is a Bachelor of
Commerce student at Damelin College in Johannesburg, said he would be voting
The young man did not say who he would be voting for, but
he believed the unemployment rate needed to come down.
"That's why I'm voting for jobs.
"I think I'm kind of giving you a hint of what I'm
going to vote for. It's very important for everyone to vote for change,"
Things were not running smoothly at every voter
registration station on Sunday, however. In Mpumalanga, two EFF party agents
were hospitalised following a mob attack during voter registration.
The party's provincial command team member Tsepo Mnisi
said the agents were travelling to a registration station in Ward 23 in the
Nkomazi region when they were attacked.
"One member is in a critical condition at Tonga
Hospital after he was hit with a big stone on his chest and lost consciousness
at the scene. The other was pushed against a car with his head and he sustained
a bleeding nose," said Mnisi on Sunday.
Mnisi said the incident happened while he and another
team member, Maniki Dibakwane, were travelling in a vehicle to check
registrations in Ward 23.
The EFF said it would lay criminal charges.
In Pampierstad in the Northern Cape, registration
stations which were forced to close because of community protests in the area
were reopened on Sunday.
Three voter stations were closed on Saturday.
The protests was not related to the registration process, but had to do with
demarcation issues. Residents stormed the three tents, used as temporary
registration centres, destroying them, equipment and documents, including
the voters' roll.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said all
voting stations were open on Sunday, with fewer than 20 voting stations out of
the 22 569 still experiencing glitches, which were being attended to.
"Many of the voting stations which were closed
yesterday due to community activism were able to open today thanks to the
intervention of various stakeholders including the security forces, community
leaders and civil society groups which assisted the Electoral Commission,"
spokesperson Kate Bapela said in a statement.
"The Electoral Commission is continuing to engage
with stakeholders in those areas where some voting stations were still
The areas were:
- Vuwani in Limpopo where eight voting stations out of 45
were still closed on Sunday;
- Voting stations in Ward 60 in Ethikwini and two voting
stations in Weenen in Kwazulu-Natal;
- Two voting stations in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape;
- Four voting stations in Thabankulu in the Eastern Cape
- Two in GaMothibi in the North West.
The IEC said it was estimated that around a million
people visited voting stations on Saturday to register, update their
registration details or re-register at new and changed voting districts.