Bumpy ballotin KZN

2019-05-09 15:02
In an area once characterised by political intolerance but now peaceful, ANC and IFP supporters (from left), Fortunate Duma, Nonjabulo Langa and Thabisile Ndlovu walk to vote in Elandskop on Wednesday.

In an area once characterised by political intolerance but now peaceful, ANC and IFP supporters (from left), Fortunate Duma, Nonjabulo Langa and Thabisile Ndlovu walk to vote in Elandskop on Wednesday. (Ian Carbutt)

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Despite a chaotic start at some voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal, where voting was delayed due to service delivery protests, voting in the province generally went smoothly on Wednesday.

There had been fears that some of the more than five million KZN residents who had registered for Wednesday’s elections would not be able to vote due to protests that had been taking place outside some voting stations.

Mainly in Durban, northern KZN and the Okhahlamba region in Bergville, the protests had resulted in the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) not being able to open about 100 of the province’s 4 800 voting stations on time.

However, by late on Monday afternoon — following swift intervention by law enforcement agencies who so far arrested six people in connection with the disturbances — all voting stations in the province, except three in the Bergville area, were operational. The IEC had extended voting hours at stations that were affected by the protests. IEC chief electoral officer (CEO) Sy Mamabolo, said despite the initial hiccups, voting in the province went ahead smoothly.

“There’s ongoing protest action, however, it has not affected the operations to a point where we have to close.

“A number of challenges relating to access to voting stations due to trenches dug across access roads as part of protest actions were reported but in most cases the South African Police Services, supported by the Department of Transport and municipal services were on standby to quickly resolve these,” he said.

Threats by several groups — including community members, workers and taxi operators, to disrupt elections in KZN, saw more than 7 000 security personnel, including members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) being deployed to the province ahead of Wednesday’s polls. However, Police Minister, Bheki Cele, who had classified KZN and the North West province as high risk areas ahead of Wednesday’s elections and visited several hotspots in KZN, said things had been calmer than initally expected. “Everything looks well. People are standing in queues doing what they are supposed to do. We have a minimal presence of police. It doesn’t look like a crime scene and people are working very well,” he said.

While 5,3 million people in KZN had registered for Wednesday’s elections, by late on Wednesday afternoon, the IEC was yet to release statistics on the number of people who actually voted.

Forty-eight political parties had registered to contest Wednesday’s polls.

In KZN, the political parties expected to garner most of the votes are the ANC, DA, IFP and the EFF.

While results from voting stations are expected to trickle in from this morning, the IEC said it will only announce the full results on Saturday.

Wednesday’s elections took place following surveys showing that, unlike in the previous polls where the ANC got more than 60% of the vote both nationally and in KZN, the party could be forced to enter into a coalition in the province.

Predictions that support for the ANC in KZN was likely to drop saw the DA in the province preparing for coalition talks weeks before Wednesday’s polls.

However, the ANC has rejected the outcome of the surveys, with party bosses adamant that the ANC would get an outright majority in KZN.

ANC provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala said there won’t be any coalition government in KZN.

“We are not considering any coalition at all as we are confident of a resounding victory for the ANC. We have been on an elections campaign trail where we interacted with the people of KZN in all corners of the province. People on the ground have made it very clear that they want the ANC to continue governing the province,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  elections
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