‘I wanted to vote, but I couldn’t’

2011-05-18 08:19

Disabled people need to be treated with respect, a disabled women in Lethabong said this morning.

“I wanted to vote, but the voting station is not accessible. This infringes on my human rights as a person with a disability,” Meikie Janties said at a polling station near Rustenburg.

Three men lifted Janties in her wheelchair to enable her to enter the voting station at 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 wheelchairs.

Janties said she had applied for a special vote, but had not been visited but an Independent Electoral Commission official during the two days set aside for special votes.

“That did not cheer my spirits. I wanted to vote and I will,” said Janties as she was wheeled into the voting station.

“Even if I die today, I’ll be happy as I have voted,” she said when she emerged from the polling booth.

Long lines were forming at the voting station in Lethabong. People brought with them books and picnic baskets, anticipating spending the entire day in the queue.

“I am avoiding the late rush in the afternoon, when it will be chaos,” said Peter Lekutu.

He said he expected a long queue, which was why he had brought a chair and his book to keep him occupied.

“My friends are still asleep. They always come late in the afternoon when everyone else is caught up in the rush to vote. I brought this book to keep me busy.” 

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