Voting running smoothly in ‘neck-and-neck’ Mandela Bay

2011-05-18 08:41

Voting was running smoothly throughout the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality on Wednesday morning in what is expected to be a “neck-and-neck” fight for the metro.

Lines of voters started forming in townships across the metro well before the opening of the polls at 7am.

Noeleen van Wyk (52) of Bethelsdorp, said she and her husband woke up at 4am to pray for a Democratic Alliance (DA) victory in the metro.

“Four o’clock is the best time to pray, because everyone else is asleep and it’s quiet,” she said after casting her ballot at a voting station in Bethelsdorp.

“We prayed hard for a DA victory. I have six kids and only my husband works in construction. Life is very difficult, but the DA can make a difference. We know Helen [DA leader Helen Zille] will deliver for us.”

At the Eastern Province Athletics Stadium in the Port Elizabeth town centre, a long queue of voters had formed by 8am.

Vendors at the front were preparing boerewors rolls and hamburgers for hungry voters.

“I’m not telling who I am voting for, but what I will say is that I’m voting against corruption and I’m voting for decent service,” said one man, who did not want to be named.

“You can figure out for yourself which party that is,” he said as voters in behind him mumbled in agreement.

Zille, who is expected to visit Nelson Mandela Bay today, believes the DA, which received 24.39% of the overall support in Nelson Mandela Bay in the 2006 local government election, can win the metro.

“I have been here five times and there is a chance we can win it if our supporters come out and vote,” Zille said after speaking to her supporters in the Stamati Valley area outside Port Elizabeth yesterday afternoon.

“It is neck-and-neck in Mandela Bay. It will all boil down to who comes out and votes.”

The ANC received 66.53% of the votes in the 2006 municipal elections, but saw its support slip to 49.6% in the 2009 general election.

This, after the launch of the Congress of the People (Cope), which received 17.02% of the votes in the national poll.

Surveys suggest that Cope could fare poorly in the election after being split by leadership squabbles.

“Given our positive service delivery record in this and many other municipalities, we call on the people the Eastern Cape, especially the Nelson Mandela Bay metro to ignore these organisations that have no interest in working with them to create better communities,” the ANC’s spokesperson in Eastern Cape Mlibo Qoboshiyane said recently.

Eastern Cape electoral officer Bongani Finca said voting stations were running smoothly across the province this morning.

“We are off to a smooth start throughout the Eastern Cape,” he said.

“There have been no major glitches. We are going well.”

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Warrant Officer Michelle Raats said there had been no major incidents in the province.

“It is all very quiet,” she said. “There is nothing to report.” 

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