Nearly 2 500 voting stations open late

Johannesburg - The chief electoral officer, Mosotho Moepya, said 11% of the 22 263 voting stations opened late on Wednesday for the country's fifth democratic elections.

This A total of 2449 voting stations experienced delays in opening on Wednesday for the country's fifth democratic elections, the IEC said.

He said 2 449 of the 22 263 voting stations opened late because staff arrived late, voting materials were delivered late  and buildings designated as polling stations were locked.

By 09:00 95% of polling stations were open and by 11:00 the final few were operating normally.

Arson

While Moepya said voting was proceeding "smoothly, peacefully and briskly", tensions had to be calmed in certain areas in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Strong security measures were implemented at voting stations in a township in Springs and in Bekkersdal, where there had been arson attacks, as well as in Cape Town's gang-plagued Manenberg on the Cape Flats.

Military vehicles were deployed to Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, following ANC faction-fighting in recent weeks.

At the Evergreen informal settlement in Springs, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele urged residents to allow delayed voting to go ahead.

Some in the crowd swore at Cwele and shouted "The police will shit themselves today".

One young resident said: "Those who vote...we're going to find them at night".

Lobbying

Military and police officials patrolled Bekkersdal, west of Johannesburg, where two IEC tents were set on fire on Tuesday night and a police helicopter circled above.

IEC Western Cape electoral officer Courtney Sampson said that at a voting station in Barcelona, Gugulethu, a mediation team had been sent in to resolve a community dispute.

In Seshego, Limpopo, IEC officials and police had to intervene in a verbal altercation between Economic Freedom Fighters and African National Congress supporters at the Mponegele Primary School.

EFF supporters accused the ANC of lobbying for votes by handing out T-shirts.

EFF leader Julius Malema arrived later in the day accompanied by his grandmother. He said the free fashion offered by the ANC was not important as voters could not "eat [a] T-shirt".

Other political leaders and public figures were in a merry mood as they voted across the country.

Prison guard

President Jacob Zuma was welcomed by ululating supporters as he arrived to vote at the Ntolwane Primary School in KwaNxamalala, Nkandla.

"The results will be very good," he told reporters.

At St Paul's Church in Rondebosch, Cape Town, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille ditched her party's blue and white colours in favour of a purple coat, top, high-heeled shoes and necklace.


Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele arrived at the Sea Point, Cape Town, library voting station shouting "good morning citizens" before she voted.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu cast his vote in Cape Town at the Milnerton High School. Walking with a cane, he declared that it was "wonderful, wonderful" to vote in a "relatively peaceful" country.

Meanwhile in Witbank, Mpumalanga, prisoners also exercised their democratic right, albeit with some confusion. At one point two inmates at the Witbank prison went into the same booth, before a prison guard separated them.


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