Minor glitches as special votes cast

2011-05-16 17:04

Pretoria - There were some "insignificant" glitches on the first day of special voting on Monday, but these were resolved, said the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

They included three protest marches - one by domestic workers at the IEC's Eastern Cape results centre and two by people unhappy about job opportunities in Thulabathe, Limpopo, and in Bloemfontein, in the Free State, Chief Electoral Officer Pansy Tlakula said in Pretoria.

"People out there want to use elections to highlight their issues," she said.

Tlakula said the IEC was working with the police to ensure that there were no impediments to the elections.

Alternate voting venues arranged

She said there were administrative problems in some polling stations when they opened at 07:00, including the unavailability of ballot boxes and envelopes, but that all the problems were sorted out.

The only voting stations open on Monday were those in areas where the 239 000 special voters were registered.

Most special voters were the elderly and the physically disabled. They would be visited at home to cast their votes.

Tlakula said alternative voting venues had to be arranged in three areas.

A voting tent was blown away in one area, at another, in the Northern Cape, a funeral was being held, and at the third, in eThekwini, a tennis tournament was being held.

Tlakula said 250 000 IEC staff were on duty on Monday.

She said 705 million ballot papers would be distributed across the country ahead of election day on Wednesday, in preparation for a 100% voter turnout.

Tlakula was hoping for a 40% voter turnout. There was a 48 percentage poll in the last local government election.

'The IEC doesn't melt'

She said there were concerns that it would rain in Gauteng and parts of the Free State on Wednesday, and she urged people to vote regardless.

"We don't melt," she said.

She said rain could also affect the IEC's ability to distribute material.

Tlakula said there were contingency measures in place should bad weather affect electricity and staff attendance.

Tlakula warned that all canvassing by political parties had to stop at midnight on Tuesday and that anyone who did not comply could be sentenced to five years in prison.

- SAPA

Read more on:    iec  |  pansy tlakula  |  elections  |  politics
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