Parties ferrying voters to stations in cold, windy PE

2016-08-03 17:19
ANC volunteers, party agents and workers getting soup in Ward 43 in Port Elizabeth. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Port Elizabeth – Thousands of voters were being ferried to the voting stations by political parties in Nelson Mandela Bay, as strong winds and occasional rain kept some residents tucked up inside.

The ANC was picking up voters, especially the elderly, and driving them to the stations, even if they were a mere 300m away.

In some areas, the DA was also fetching and dropping off residents door to door, if they had not yet voted.

Snaking queues outside voting stations from Summerstrand to Uitenhage, in Nelson Mandela Bay, could be seen as residents wanted to beat the rush in the hotly contested region.

In Uitenhage, where, due to a bungle in Ward 43, the ANC has not fielded a candidate, hundreds of residents queued for up to an hour for a chance to vote.

'They can’t bully us'

Presiding officer Nomvuyo Gobizembe said more than 500 people, out of a registered 2 444, had passed through her Pityana Street voting station by 11:00. 

"It’s cold, but we are getting there. There was already a big queue when we opened, but so far there are no problems at all," she said.

The only complaint had been about the canvassing of votes outside the station, which led to the IEC asking the party volunteers stationed there to move a little further down.

But only the ANC moved, while the DA stayed put as the homeowner told them to relax as his house was not IEC property, they told News24.

"We are staying put. They can’t bully us," a DA volunteer said.

Speaking to the volunteers outside the station, Gobizembe reminded them that they could not canvass for votes at all outside the station.

Presiding officer dismissed

Party volunteers were fed soup and fruit as the biting wind blew away party tents.

Earlier in the day, both the ANC and DA mayoral candidates expressed confidence in their respective party’s abilities to win the metro.

The DA’s Athol Trollip said they were hoping for 50% plus one vote, while the ANC’s Danny Jordaan said they were aiming for 55%.

Meanwhile, a presiding officer of Mpumalanga JSS Ward 9, at Mnquma Municipality, in the Eastern Cape, was dismissed on Monday, the IEC said.

Spokesperson Pearl Ngoza said the officer was dismissed after it was discovered that she was a branch secretary of a political party.

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