Zuma’s vote delayed: Did Pansy Tlakula lose her way to Nxamalala?

2014-05-07 12:06

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President Jacob Zuma has cast his vote in his home village of Nxamalala near Nkandla saying he is “happy’’ to vote after a “short but challenging’’ election campaign.

Zuma got to vote after 10am, about an hour later than scheduled, apparently because of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula.

Tlakula was meant to welcome Zuma at Ntolwane Primary School but apparently went to Nkandla instead of Nxamalala.

Security sources told City Press that because of the delay – Nxamalala is 50km from Nkandla – it was decided that Zuma should go ahead and vote without Tlakula.

Zuma arrived at the school, from which his sprawling homestead can be seen, in a massive convoy of security vehicles.

Locals poured into the school to catch a glimpse of their hero, who looked relaxed and confident as he joked with IEC staff members who were checking whether he was registered to vote.

Presidential wives MaKhumalo and Nompumelelo Zuma arrived with their husband, while Thobeka Zuma arrived a little earlier to cast her vote. Residents ululated and sang songs praising Zuma on his arrival and fought for space with a large media contingent that had gathered to hear Zuma’s remarks after he had cast his ballot.

Zuma said he hoped that voting would go ahead peacefully for the rest of the day, stressing that the right to vote was “one of the most important’’ human rights and one that he hoped all South Africans would exercise today.

Zuma said he would spend the next few days watching the results come in while “doing other things’’.

“You know I’m always busy,’’ he joked.

Earlier, Zodwa Hlongwane, the local woman for whom the EFF famously built a house in February as part of their campaign in KwaZulu-Natal, cast her vote at the same polling station as Zuma.

She said she was “very happy’’ to be “voting for change’’ at Nxamalala.

“I am voting for change,’’ said Hlongwane, who has been something of an outcast at Nxamalala since the house was built.

“I am voting for a party that will do the right things for poor people like me and give us a chance for a better life. That’s why I came to vote here today,’’ she said.

Hlongwane was accompanied by EFF election observers who said that their members had been able to vote freely in the area thus far.

Nonhlanhla Ngonyama (28), a teacher at Ntolwane, who was born at Nxamalala and went to school in the area, said she was voting for the ANC because “the president is our neighbour’’.

The frenzy of activity at Ntolwane, which had been quiet before Zuma’s arrival, ended as he left after a short walk to his waiting convoy.

Tlakula arrived as Zuma was leaving.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela could not immediately be reached for comment.

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