Elections end smoothly

2011-05-18 20:11

Johannesburg - Blood, sweat and crocodiles featured in municipal elections on Wednesday, which ended as smoothly as it started with only a few hiccups reported in some spots.

South Africa's fourth post-apartheid local government elections officially ended when voting stations closed at 19:00, with no presiding officers requesting extended voting hours.

Independent Electoral Commission spokesperson Kate Bapela said if a voter was in line before 19:00, then he or she would still be able to vote, even if it was after 19:00.

"Everybody who is in the queue by 19:00 will be assisted," she said.

The IEC said throughout the day that voting was going smoothly overall, with all but one of the 20 859 voting stations open by 09:30.


Glitches occurred at some places, with the main issues being too few or faulty ID scanners, voting stations not opening on time, reports of intimidation and the burning down of an election tent at a ward outside Bloemfontein in the Free State.

All eyes were on the Democratic Alliance-led Cape Town and the closely contested Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, while the Inkatha Freedom Party battled it out with its breakaway party, the National Freedom Party, in Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal.

The latter was one of the "problem areas", where three people - two of the IFP and one of the NFP - were arrested for allegedly intimidating each other, while five people were arrested for allegedly attacking an African National Congress ward candidate in KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal.

President Jacob Zuma voted in his home village Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, confident that the ANC would "surprise many".

"I am very optimistic because we have made serious advances," said Zuma.

A run for its money

DA leader Helen Zille cast her vote early at Rondebosch in Cape Town, before visiting Nelson Mandela Bay, where some analysts believe the DA could give the ANC a run for its money.

Zille laid a complaint with the IEC after her visit, saying she had spotted some voters being given only one ballot paper, instead of two.

"It was highly suspicious," said Zille, urging voters to let her know if it had happened to them.

"When I pointed this out to the IEC they got a terrible fright and said it shouldn't be like this," said Zille.

One ballot paper is to vote for a political party, while the second ballot paper is to vote for a ward councillor.

Borrowed ballots

In the Free State, two presiding officers were fired after the one borrowed ballot papers from his friend at a neighbouring voting station.

Free State IEC head Chris Mepha said the presiding officer of a voting station in the Dihlabeng Municipality (Bethlehem) ran out of ballot papers and ran across the road to borrow papers from his "friend" next door.

"We do not do that. We do not train them to do that," Mepha said in Bloemfontein.

He said 97 spoilt ballot papers were retrieved from the voting station after the incident was discovered. "Both [IEC personnel] are gone now."

This was not Bloemfontein's only election problem. At Phase 7 Tuckshop, where a voting station tent was burnt down overnight, the voter turnout was low because of intimidation, Mepha said.

Important test

ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela voted in Soweto, saying the elections were an important test for the ruling party.

"The people are calling on us to deliver. They think that it's time to deliver. They think it's time to stop blaming the past for the ills of our society.

"Difficult as it may have been, 17 years is not enough time to rectify ills of the past, but it is time to deliver on services and jobs," said Madikizela-Mandela.

Back at the IEC results centre in Pretoria, ANC election head Fikile Mbalula said the ruling party was not perturbed by the intense campaigning before the elections.

"We are not scared, we are actually happy that other parties were campaigning in the manner they were campaigning. This is in our blood, we are used to it, it's in our DNA," said Mbalula.

Voters’ views

"What we can say is that we are confident of an overwhelming victory."

Voters on the street had different experiences of the day - some complained about long queues; others praised election officials; some used the holiday as an opportunity to braai or smoke dagga; others got up at 04:00 to pray that their political party would win.

Perhaps voters at the mobile station near the Olifants River in Limpopo would have one of the more interesting election tales to tell.

That station opened at 09:00, because electoral officers could not cross the crocodile-infested river.

They had to wait for an army vehicle to take them across to set up the station at Mankele Primary School in Lebowakgomo, after which election officials could finally sink their teeth into the job.

  • devils_advo - 2011-05-18 20:28

    Voting for the ANC is like a chicken voting for KFC!!!

      Yellow1 - 2011-05-18 20:42

      Voting for the DA is like a black person voting for slavery.

      Honcho - 2011-05-18 20:43

      That may be true for whites. For whites, ANC means; Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

      Charlie - 2011-05-18 20:59

      @Yellow1 How exactly is it voting for slavery, get over yourself, the past is the past, slavery is long since been abolished... You know what never mind, someone with a comment like yours probably would not understand what I'm trying to convey, brainwashing, funny how many people fall for that.

      zanotti - 2011-05-18 21:01

      Great comment. Yellow's comment shows he or she is colour blind. After 17 years of ANC rule, there is still slavery by the ruling party towards their own people.

  • Chang Yi - 2011-05-18 20:53

    This woman called Zille is mentally sick indeed, she is still xriss xrossing the country..Is she sicking for sympathy or attention? For I know, the real winners are resting at home preparing for the big celebrations come this weekend...Well Done ANC!!!!!!!

      Slapper - 2011-05-18 20:59

      Xie Xie, now bugger off.

      ligte - 2011-05-18 21:08

      And dont forget the special at KFC

  • Slapper - 2011-05-18 20:58

    The Crocodiles were supposedly wearing ANC T shirts? The danger came from the voters having a problem identifying which was ANC and which was a crocodile, It is said that even the smile was identical?

  • Buntu - 2011-05-18 21:19

    Campaign promises are always forgotten as soon as the election is over.If you thought they were actually going to represent us and the best interests of the South African people you are gravely mistaken.Our Government are only interested in their own self interests and the next election. Once a liar always a liar.They lie to get elected and lie to keep it, the only people they are interested in is their wealthy constituents.Ha ha ha am laughing at u voters.

      Honcho - 2011-05-18 21:28

      I have aproblem with people who want freebies from the government. I only vote to keep white racists away from power. I do not need personal benefits from the ANC to say they work for the people. I will hate the day I will see a pale person being my Mayor, Premier or President.

      Chang Yi - 2011-05-18 21:29

      You are too negative, no doubt you are a failure in life too...

      alv1990 - 2011-05-18 21:51 gonna luff on the utha side o' yo face soon.....hehehehehehe!! U should catch a wake up and vote ( for hoeva u choooze) and then mek yo commenty.........

  • SoulDaddy - 2011-05-18 21:20

    what a fackin wanker they have in the photo with his cross next to the ANC... seriously people, get with the times

  • Buntu - 2011-05-18 21:27

    Campaign promises are always forgotten as soon as the election is over.If you thought they were actually going to represent us and the best interests of the South African people you are gravely mistaken.Our Government are only interested in their own self interests and the next election. Once a liar always a liar.They lie to get elected and lie to keep it, the only people they are interested in is their wealthy constituents.

  • alv1990 - 2011-05-18 21:46

    Oh Grow Up !!! All of you.....the DA has many black members who are gatvol with the ANC and their wasting and pocketing of our taxes....!! Well done to all the presiding officers,staff and SAPS members whether they were ANC or DA supporters at our polling station.....I must say though....the ANC campers were very subdued....unlike a few years ago when they were blatantly quaffing Black Label and Braaing sheeps heads at the same station.......VIVA DA VIVA !!!!

  • Ron - 2011-05-18 22:02

    Why does it take total disaster for people to see through a government, look at Zim the people still vote for RM, cant see or plan for the future, SA will go the same way if left the way it is. and that is fact.. Black or white makes no difference look ahead and try and see a future for our children they are the ones who will suffer, so stop thinking about yourselves for once.

      Chang Yi - 2011-05-18 22:21

      @ Ron, you may sound like a cool white dude yes, but problem is there are many white people out there who are very racist towards black people...even worse in Cape Town. Which is why that when it comes to voting a party, they still vote for the ANC not only because of services but mainly because they do not want to give the power back to the whites...

      Ron - 2011-05-18 22:29

      What is wrong with giving power to white if that same white person is for the blacks, you all think that apart-hate will be back, NO it wont, and anyway we are in a reverse situation at the moment. So stop with the black and white thing its not about colour but who can run this country.

      Ron - 2011-05-18 22:31

      And black people who are racist to the whites so you want to vote now to see who is more racist....????

  • Zakir Sheikh - 2011-05-18 22:14

    I hope you all voted DA or ANC because they both have Open Door and Open Toilet policies

  • magszinovich - 2011-05-18 23:45

    "some used the holiday as an opportunity to braai or smoke dagga." Wow talk about irrelevance. Seems the author of this article was smoking some when he/she wrote it

  • nchenge - 2011-05-19 12:05

    hahahahah.south Africans will kill me with their hatred for each other(race).trends might be changing but i do not see any real challenge to the ANC in the near future.Party politics loyalties is still very much hinged on Race.An Blacks(african) are a majority, it will only hurt the DA if they do nothing to crush the perception of them being racist. COPE is a real joke

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