Zille complains to IEC over ‘highly suspicious’ voting at Mandela Bay

2011-05-18 14:28

DA leader Helen Zille has laid a complaint with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in Nelson Mandela Bay over allegations that some voters in the Nelson Mandela Bay were only handed out one, instead of two, ballots.

Zille, who spent part of her day in Port Elizabeth and surrounds, claimed that at a “DA stronghold” voters were only given the ballot for the ward list, and not the proportional representation (PR) ballot.

“I went inside the Despatch Town Hall and while I was observing, I noticed five voters with only one ballot paper,” Zille said.

“When I pointed this out to the IEC, they got a terrible fright and said it shouldn’t be like this.”

She said voters had to walk past two IEC tables to get to voting booths. “Why people weren’t stopped when they were walking past, I don’t know. It was highly suspicious.”

Zille’s spokesperson, Priya Reddy, said the PR votes were important as they could determine who would run the metro. The DA believes that the opposition could wrestle control of the Nelson Mandela Bay from the ANC, and has campaigned fiercely in the city ahead of the elections. In the 2009 general elections, the ANC got less than 50% support in the metro.

In one polling station in Missionvale, outside Port Elizabeth, voting was reportedly delayed by more than an hour following a scuffle among voters. When City Press visited the area voting was proceeding calmly.

Local resident Ntombovuyo Rune (23) said it had taken her 30 minutes to cast her vote. Although she wouldn’t say who she had voted for, Rune said she hoped that her vote would improve living conditions in the peri-urban settlement of Missionvale.

“If there is no progress by the time we get to the next election, they will lose my next vote,” she said. Other young residents in nearby Zwide township, an ANC stronghold, said they were yet to decide who to vote for.Khaya Woshe, a 26-year-old Zwide resident, said he was not happy to be voting as his life had not changed for the better over the years.

“I have to vote to comply. I’ve been unemployed since 2005 when I left school,” Woshe said.

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