Chaos at Sweetwaters poll: Protesters block voting stations

2012-02-20 00:00

ANGRY Sweetwaters residents yesterday blocked the entrance to a polling station to halt voting during chaotic traditional council elections.

The protesters, from the Nadi area of Sweetwaters in Vulindlela, said their candidates’ names had not appeared on the ballot papers.

Instead, they had the names of candidates from the neighbouring Mpumuza area under inkosi Nsikayezwe Zondi.

Nadi area falls under inkosi Sondelani Zondi.

Residents who spoke to The Witness outside the Gospel Church polling station in Sweetwaters said that although their names appeared on the voters’ roll, their candidates’ names were not on the ballot papers.

“After discovering this scandal, we decided to camp outside the voting station in order to persuade voters not to vote because we cannot vote for people who belong to another inkosi to be in charge of development in our area.

The Independent Electoral Commission and the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) “must sort out this mess”, said a resident, Mduduzi Sithole.

Three candidates from Nadi area, Themba Zondi, Gcineni Magubane and Busisiwe Mbambo, whose names were not on the ballot paper, were among the crowd that was urging voters not to cast their ballots.

As a result, only three out of 174 registered voters at the Gospel Church voting station had managed to vote by 2 pm yesterday.

Cogta official Ntokozo Chonco could not say what had gone wrong on the Nadi ballot papers, but said MEC Nomusa Dube was likely to recommend by-elections at all polling stations that had experienced serious problems.

At a polling station at nearby ­Mbubu Primary School only 15 out of 116 registered voters had voted by the afternoon.

It is the first time that traditional councils have held elections.

Last week the Inkatha Freedom Party president, in his capacity as an inkosi of the Buthelezi clan in Mahlabathini, lodged an unsuccessful application in the high court in Pietermaritzburg to have the elections halted.

Cogta spokesperson Vernon ­Mchunu said an estimated 40% of the 500 000 registered voters had turned up by midday to elect their candidates for the traditional councils.

Although there were some hiccups in a few voting districts in the province, MEC Dube said, she was overwhelmed by the response shown by voters given that the election was a relatively a new one.

“By-elections will be staged in about the next three weeks, so that we can address the hurdles that may have been identified elsewhere.”

The MEC added: “We wish to thank our people for having responded positively to our call on them to participate in the democratisation of our traditional councils and the institution of traditional leadership.

“We are the first province in the country to run this brand of election, and our counterparts will surely learn a thing or two as they conduct their own in the near future, because this process is ultimately a national campaign in keeping with our Constitution.”


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.