Extra cops sent to by-election hotspot

2009-10-14 00:00

ALL eyes will be on politically volatile ward three in Imbabazane Municipality near Estcourt during today’s by-election.

The results of the last by-election in March had to be nullified after violence broke out at the polls between IFP and ANC supporters.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) confirmed yesterday that extra police have been deployed in the area for the past two weeks. KwaZulu-Natal IEC head Mawethu Mosery said the IEC has not picked up tensions since parties started campaigning.

Six by-elections are taking place in the province today.

Mosery said the only other area where there has been some trouble is uMzumbe on the south coast.

He said there were allegations of stone throwing and damage to vehicles during the campaigning and the IEC has organised extra security there as well.

The IEC official said voting stations in Imbabazane will close early — at 7 pm instead of 9 pm. This is to ensure that it is not too late when people return home after voting. “We were initially planning to close the voting stations at 5 pm as we did during the by-election at uMvoti, but in this area we had to make concessions for factory workers and those involved in the hospitality industry,” he said.

Mosery said he is comfortable with the planning and logistics for today’s voting.

The ANC yesterday raised concerns about ballot box tampering, as had happened in Ulundi during the national elections in April. A presiding officer was found guilty of stuffing a ballot box with pre-marked papers.

Mosery said he is fairly confident that the electoral material has been securely kept. He had been concerned about the premises they used in Vryheid to store electoral material, and security there has been beefed up.

Two by-elections are taking place in Newcastle and the others are in Imbabazane, Vryheid, uMzumbe and uBuhlebezwe municipalities.







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