Voting on track, despite minor glitches

2011-05-18 14:50
Pretoria - All but one voting station was open by 09:30 while a few glitches were reported as South Africans headed to the polls for the fourth local government elections on Wednesday, Chief Electoral Officer Pansy Tlakula said.

“We are happy with the process so far,” she said at the 2011 national results operation centre (ROC) in Pretoria.

Over 95% of 20 859 voting stations opened on time to allow the 23.6m eligible voters to cast their ballot, she said.

There had been a “few challenges”.

Ballot papers

A few stations had insufficient ballot papers, but this had since been resolved by distributing all ballot papers that had been kept at warehouses.

She said in the 2009 national elections there was a “lot of concern and excitement” about running out of ballot papers.

“We will not run out of ballot papers as we did not in 2009.”

South Africans have to vote where they are registered so the IEC is able to determine how many ballot papers are needed at each voting station and had provided for 100% voter turnout.

There were problems with scanners at some voting stations which had led to long queues.

Tlakula said this was because the paper was too thick for the scanners, but emphasised the problem was not widespread.

Protests, power failures, rain

Protest marches had not disrupted voting as they had not impeded access to the stations, Tlakula said.

Protests were reported from Tswaing in North West, Kuruman in the Northern Cape, Matatiele, Nelspruit and Thobotse in Limpopo, among others.

Thokoza, Katlehong and Kempton Park in Gauteng, as well as Balfour in Mpumalanga had experienced power failures. Electoral officials had had to bring in generators.

Rain in Limpopo and some parts of Mpumalanga had hindered some voting, but disaster management teams were on standby.

Campaigning SMSes

Tlakula said they had received a number of complaints about political parties sending campaigning SMSes to voters.

The incorrect impression had been created that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was supplying voter information to political parties, she said.

“... the IEC has not supplied any information or contact details to any political parties,” she said.

The delays in opening some stations at 07:00 was a result of IEC officials and police reporting for work late or problems with voting materials, she added.

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Read more on:    iec  |  pansy tlakula  |  elections

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