Voters trump sabotage

2018-03-14 06:02
Voters queue at makeshift stations to register for voting after the IEC tent was stolen.Photo: Boipelo Mere

Voters queue at makeshift stations to register for voting after the IEC tent was stolen.Photo: Boipelo Mere

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Voter registration continued despite attempts to sabotage the registration process in Lerato Park, Kimberley, on Saturday (10/03) and Sunday (11/03).

A tent of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), erected in the area on Friday night (09/11), was stolen before the voter registration started on Saturday.

The IEC was forced to set up an emergency voting station due to strong winds.

Voters had to register and check their details in a microbus after workers removed the seats to allow space for the registration tables.

This follows the stolen IEC tent that was before voter registration started on Saturday morning and another attempt of protest, blocking the roads on Sunday morning.

In another attempt to sabotage the proceedings, protesters blockaded the roads on Sunday morning.

A strong police presence was noted at the site on both days, and IEC officials had to be escorted to the site on Sunday.

According to Bonolo Modise, IEC provincial head in the Northern Cape, the microbus was used as an alternative because no other permanent facility in the area was available.

“We were actually proactive in harnessing the microbus, otherwise there would have been no registration. It would have been very difficult for officials to work in such windy conditions – all the papers would have blown away,” Modise said.

“Four informal sites in the Sol Plaatje Municipality where approached, but the IEC could not attain the use of permanent structures like schools and churches.”

Voters expressed their disgust over the stolen tent and blamed it on the divisions within the community.

While some decided not to register because of the corruption and lack of progress within their area, some lauded registration as the best solution to their problems.

Reggie Temba, one of the community members, lashed out in disappointment after learning that the tent was stolen.

According to him, IEC workers were disrupted by protesters when they tried to set up the tent on Friday.

He revealed that there was a disruption when the IEC tried to set up the tent on Friday where they were stoned.

“We are the ones who advised them that the tent must be set up here, next to the road. We volunteered to guard it, but just after we fell asleep in the early morning hours, they took it,” Temba said.

“This morning they wanted to ­sabotage the registration process and deny us our right to vote, but they have failed because IEC erected gazibos.”

Another community member, Joseph Martins, blamed the lack or service delivery for the stolen tent.

“This is exactly the problems we are facing in Lerato Park – a lack of services like electricity, sanitation and permanent housing sites. If we had high mast lights, maybe someone would have seen the perpetrator,” said Martins.

“But I am registering to vote with the mere intention of making a difference.”

  • Besides the stolen tent in Lerato Park, no other incident was reported in the province.

According to Modise, complaints of intimidation and unruly campaigning within IEC jurisdiction were not reported to them.

He further expressed his gratitude to the different parties who encouraged people to go and register.

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