Why Bekkersdal decided to vote

2014-05-07 15:35

Bekkersdal residents turned out in their numbers to cast their votes in today’s elections because they realised the ANC would win whether they voted or not, residents’ association spokesperson Thabang Wesi has said.

Last night, an angry mob clashed with police and later torched two polling stations and dismantled another IEC tent. By this afternoon, no fresh incidents of violence had been reported.

Polling stations were guarded by armed police officers and members of the SA National Defence Force.

Some claim residents were bribed to vote – with R200 and free T-shirts.

However, Wesi could not confirm this. “I am aware that people were given T-shirts by political parties but we know nothing about people receiving bribes to vote for the ANC.”

Wesi said a decision had been reached by the community to go to the polls on Friday night after a community meeting.

“People felt that it would be useless to boycott the polls because whether they did it or not, the ANC would win the elections. Besides, people have a right to participate in democratic processes,” he said.

Bekkersdal has been a scene of violent protests in the past six months with protesters clashing with the police. Because of this tension, the IEC declared the area a hot spot.

ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was among the politicians who visited Bekkersdal today.

Dressed in black Madikizela-Mandela, who is in mourning, arrived in a black BMW 5 series. She got out of the car and waved to Bekkersdal residents who were scattered around the polling station located in the Mandela settlement.

People ululated and started singing struggle songs. Madikizela-Mandela did not say anything to the crowd.

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