The chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) said the Commission is happy with the progress in the Local Government Elections thus far at a lunchtime media briefing on Monday, 1 November.
IEC MIDDAY UPDATE
Glen Mashinini, the chairperson, said that over 99 percent of the 23 148 voting stations opened on time – 7:00 – on Monday.
“In general, voting is progressing well across the country. The logistical arrangements, as well as the voter management devices, are holding well, on the whole,” said Mashinini.
By midday, more than 3.5 million South Africans had already cast their votes, according to the IEC. “We are able to report this because of the voter management devices,” said the chairperson. “The Commission is therefore satisfied with the voting process.”
When questioned about voter turnout, IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo said the Commission is unable to say how many people had voted at this stage in the last LGE in 2016
COMMUNITY PROTESTS DELAYS VOTING
Despite the IEC’s satisfaction with proceedings, there have been several eyebrow-raising incidents across the country.
In KwaZulu-Natal, 20 voting stations could not open on time because of community protests in Camperdown and Mdlothi. The stations, however, have since been opened with assistance from the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Also in KZN, a presiding officer in the eThekwini Metro was arrested after allegedly stuffing marked ballots into a ballot box. The IEC said the matter is now in the hands of the police, adding that it did not affect voting.
Mamabolo said the matter is a serious criminal offence. He referred to a previous incident in Ulundi, KZN, when the guilty individual was prosecuted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.
In the Eastern Cape, 19 voting stations could not open because of community protests. The communities around all 19 voting stations had dug trenches around the stations to deny staff and voters access. The trenches have since been filled and the stations will be opened at some point today.
Mamabolo said the Commission would decide whether voting hours at the affected voting stations will be extended later today. However, the IEC said voting stations close at 21:00 but people who are standing in line at that time will still be allowed to vote.