Few hiccups at Soweto stations as voting gets under way

2019-05-08 13:01
Voting in Dobsonville, where Mmusi Maimane also voted. The elderly seem to have dominated at this station this morning. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)

Voting stations in Soweto opened at 07:00 with very few hiccups. 

At the Presbyterian Church in Dobsonville, where DA leader Mmusi Maimane cast his vote, many people had woken up early so they could make their mark. 

Some voters were excited, while others were disgruntled as they walked out of stations with their inked thumbs and reminisced about the first democratic elections in South Africa. 

"You know, in 1994, it was so packed at voting stations. We were also so very excited," 70-year-old Lina Kgosidintsi said. 

Kgosidintsi said 25 years ago there were longer queues compared to those she noticed on Wednesday. 

Few changes

She also said there were very few changes in the democratic South Africa. 

"We still live in small houses with our kids squashed in one house. Secondly, there are no jobs. We spend our Mandela's grant and share it with our kids because there are no jobs," she said. 

Also read: Almost 10% of voting stations didn't open at 07:00

However, she said elections were important to her because they determine a way forward for South Africa. 

A proud Kgosidintsi smiled broadly as she cast her vote but did not reveal which party she voted for.

"My vote is my secret. They said it is our secret. I am not voting ANC, I am not voting DA. It is my secret," she said, laughing. 

Several other voters at the Soweto voting stations said what was important, was that the party that won delivered to the people as promised.

"Any party that wins, we will see how it treats us, but we are hopeful that it will do the right thing. We want jobs, we want homes, that's all," voter Percy Anold told News24. 

Home of the struggle

Speaking after casting his vote, Maimane said it was important for him to vote in Soweto because of the history of the township. 

"Soweto to me represents in many ways, the home of where the struggle is and now we are entering a new struggle. A struggle for jobs for many South Africans," Maimane said. 

Maimane added that Wednesday's voting was about the future of South Africa. 

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"Vote for the future of this country and for the South Africans who are unemployed," he said. 

Maimane urged South Africans to come out in their numbers to vote and added that it didn't matter which T-shirt people wore. 

"This vote is about competence. This vote is about saying, let Mmusi Maimane run this country so that we can take it forward so that we can clean up this country," he said. 

Maimane said he was confident about the Gauteng province and about the turnout, adding that his party has shown that where it governed, there was service delivery. 

Scanner not working

While voting got under way smoothly at the Presbyterian church, it was a different story 600m away at DSJ Primary School.

Voters at the school had to wait for almost two hours to cast their votes because the ID scanner was not working. 

A presiding officer, who refused to reveal her name said they were waiting for batteries. She added that the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) had instructed the station to continue with the process manually. 

Party agents were unimpressed by the turn of events.

"We are not happy at all with a scanner not working and only to find out this morning when voting doors are supposed to open," an EFF party agent said.

Find everything you need to know about the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections. Make sure your News24 app is updated to access all our elections coverage in one place.

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