Miners protest at polling station
Rustenburg - National Union of Mineworkers
members protested outside the Karee Mine voting station in Marikana near
Rustenburg on Wednesday.
The group ordered Independent Electoral
Commission (IEC) officials to close the voting station until their problem had
been resolved, presiding officer Aubrey Koloko said.
The workers were not happy that their branch
secretary and chairman had been suspended by their union, but did not say why.
In a note handed to the IEC official, they
demanded that Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi had to come and speak to
them. They vowed not to vote until their leaders were reinstated.
They did not enter the premises of the voting
station. No voters were present at the time. They eventually left, under the
watchful eye of police officers. Nobody was arrested.
"We are coming back," they
threatened, waving their knobkerries at the IEC officials.
Koloko said 11 people had voted since the
station opened at 07:00.
Outgoing ward councillor Nosipho Dabe said 1 700
people were expected to vote at the Karee Mine voting station.
The ANC and DA have fielded candidates in all
38 wards of the Rustenburg municipality. Seven independent candidates are
competing in six wards.
Earlier one voter, Meikie Janties, complained
that it was difficult for disabled people such as herself to vote.
"I wanted to vote, but the voting
station is not accessible. This infringes on my human rights as a person with a
disability." Three men lifted Janties in her wheelchair to enable her to
enter the voting station at the Lethabong Community Creche.
Construction workers maintaining the road had
left a heap of soil in front of the gate, making it inaccessible to people in
Janties said she had applied for a special
vote, but was not visited by an IEC official
during the two days set aside for special votes.
"I wanted to vote and I will," said
Janties as she was wheeled into the voting station.