(Picture: Patricia de Lille)
Cape Town – A protest that forced the closure of two voter registration stations in Khayelitsha on Saturday was sparked by confusion over ward demarcation, an ANC official said.
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“The problem is that there was a failure on the side of some community leaders to give direction on the changing of the demarcation,” acting ANC provincial chairperson, Khaya Magaxa, told News24.
He said Kuyasa previously belonged to Ward 95 but had been shifted to Ward 97.
Some residents did not feel they had been properly informed. The demarcation also affected councillors and their interests. “People think they still belong to Ward 95 and they don’t appreciate the fact that they were only told recently.”
Magaxa said the changes took place after other residents wrote to the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to ask that Kuyasa be placed in the new ward.
He said this was done in good faith. “The proposal was based on the fact that ward 95 cut Kuyasa into two wards and they felt that Kuyasa is supposed to belong to one ward,” he said.
Police on scene
On Saturday morning, Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille, tweeted: “ANC infighting prevented the IEC from opening the voting station in Kuyasa this morning. Police on the scene.”
Staff were withdrawn from two voter registration stations in the area after a group of protesters tried blocking the entrances.
“The staff was there but we withdrew them on the basis that it was not conducive to their safety,” said Western Cape IEC spokesperson, Trevor Davids.
The IEC made the decision on the recommendation of police in the area.
Provincial electoral officer, Courtney Sampson, said according to police information, around 20 people tried to block the station.
He said residents were making use of the registration station to voice their discontent and that the protest was not aimed at the IEC.
Magaxa said he attended a meeting with local leaders to resolve the problem. There was agreement that the issue was beyond the ANC and had to be handled by the IEC.
Local leaders were expected to engage with the crowd.
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