ELECTION WRAP: Some hiccups in start of local election voting

2016-08-03 10:30
Friedrich Roggenkamp, 75
Friedrich Roggenkamp, 75, was turned away from a Durban voting station after systems reflected him as 'deceased'. (Jeff Wicks/News24)

Pretoria - The firing of a group of IEC officials, missing voters’ rolls, ballot box seals and scanners, and delayed station openings were amongst hiccups experienced as voting got underway in the local government elections on Wednesday.

Electoral staff from Ward 95 in Folweni, south of Durban were dismissed because of irregularities during the special voting process, said IEC KZN spokesperson Thabani Ngwira.

He said that the discrepancies occurred with the handling of envelopes of the special voters and that as a result, all staff from voting stations in the ward hard been jettisoned. 

However, voting in the area had not been affected as emergency staff had been rerouted to the poling stations.

Meanwhile, in the troubled Vuwani area in Limpopo, there was a heavy presence police and army, with various voting stations not opening on time due to officials being locked out.

Residents in the area have threatened to boycott the elections in protest against issues around municipal demarcations.

On Wednesday morning, some residents even dug ditches in roads to prevent access to the designate stations.

On Twitter, photographs showed forlorn-looking, magenta-clad IEC officials and empty seats at various stations that were able to open. Making his way to vote in Hammanskraal, ANC NEC member Aaron Motsoaledi said the party would have a meeting with IEC officials after five voting stations in ward 49 in the area opened late.

Voters were left frustrated as ballot box seals and inks were not available in the morning.  

Motsoaledi said the IEC area manager told him she had been involved in an accident.

Also in Pretoria, eager citizens queuing at Hillview High in Roseville had to wait a while, until a missing voters’ roll was located.  Voting was delayed for about half an hour at the Mondeor Recreation Centre, apparently for the same reason.

The late delivery of the voters’ roll saw an extra hour wait until residents could take to the polls at Sir Edmund Hillary Primary School in Kensington, Johannesburg. 

Current DA councillor for the area, Carlos Da Rocha, said that the wrong ballot papers were brought to Doug Whitehead School in the area.

"People got angry and left. They had waited over an hour," said Da Rocha. By 9.30 the problems had been sorted out he said and voting was running smoothly.

In Cape Town, serious delays were experienced at Milnerton High School - Although 5000 residents - including Archbishop Desmond Tutu – had registered to vote, only one scanner was reported as working.

According to News24 readers, faulty or too few scanners created long queues at several voting stations including at Goudkop Primary school in Klerksdorp, Pretoria Technical School and Centurion’s Pierre van Ryneveld.  Johannesburg venues apparently suffering a similar fate included St David's Marist Brothers school in Illovo, a Malboro Gardens station, and the Panorama station in Weltevreden Park.

Long queues and delays were experienced at the MTR Smit voting station in Port Elizabeth apparently due to the late arrival of a scanner.  The Paulshof voting station at St Peters School reportedly opened one hour and twenty minutes late for the same reason.

One reader reported that expectant voters in Ward 106 in Rivonia, Sandton got involved in a fracas with a presiding officer over non-alphabetical listing on the voter’s role.

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