Eastern Cape – Only five people had voted in five hours at Ncunteni polling station in Mt. Frere, due to protests that started last night. Many voters decided not to cast their votes when voting opened.

Only five people had voted by noon even though voting opened on time; at 7a.m..

Residents are disgruntled with the Chief of the area; King Madzikane II, who is also the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khuselo Diko.

The community accuses King Madzikane II of being the biggest barrier to service delivery. Residents say they are unhappy that the chief abused his power by closing off and re-directing the main road which was in fact, supposed to be tarred.

“It is said that the chief claims to have closed the road because he is protecting his family. There is reportedly a history of his family losing their lives on this road. That’s what we know. That seems unfair to the majority of us though, because this is a main road,” said one of the disgruntled residents.

However, Chief Madzikane questions the real intentions of the protests. He says after thorough consultations, local government authorities made a decision to close off the road about nine years ago already. He says it is possible that the protests are personal.

“I’m surprised the matter of this road is turning out to be a highly contested issue at this particular time. However, I do respect people’s right to protest. What I condemn is the act of preventing those who want and have a right to vote from voting,” said Chief Madzikane II.

“Yesterday municipal authorities were here. And this ANC-led municipality listens; and so the relevant people in this office; maybe the Councilor of this area, must look into this road issue as per their promise eight years go. And eight years ago, after community consultations, residents had agreed to the decision to re-direct the main road, so it’s surprising really that today, residents are up in arms,” added Chief Madzikane II. – Alfred Nzo FM, Eastern Cape (Edited by Philile Masango)

In conversation with Alfred Nzo FM journalist Qaqamba Mdunyelwa, Ncutheni Chief Madzikane II dismissed allegations leveled against him and his family, of going against community wishes by closing off the main road.