“Impressive!” says ex-Tanzania President of SA Voting

“Impressive!” says ex-Tanzania President of SA Voting

Gauteng – Head of the African Union’s Election Observer Mission to South Africa and former president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, has described South Africa’s electoral process as impressive and a model for other African countries.

Kikwete told journalists at the National Results Operations Center (ROC) that all African countries could take a leaf from the true transparency and democracy displayed by South Africa during its current election process.

Kikwete made the observation just after touring the ROC facilities in Pretoria today.

He lauded South Africa for ensuring media freedom during the elections.

“It shows the level of confidence that the Electoral Commission has, the transparency that there is, the openness that there is; it’s wonderful. No country in Africa compares to this one”, said Kikwete.

“South Africa as a nation, as we recognize it in Africa came before South Sudan; it’s the youngest democracy before South Sudan in the continent but it’s a much more developed democracy than many of the countries,” added the former Tanzania President. (Edited by Philile Masango)

Former Tanzania President and head of African Union Election Observer Mission to South Africa says he is thoroughly impressed with South Africa’s electoral processes.
Unsettling tensions in KwaMashu and uMlazi on voting day

Unsettling tensions in KwaMashu and uMlazi on voting day

KwaZulu-Natal – As voters queued to vote yesterday, Police Minister Bheki Cele made appearances at voting stations in KwaMashu and uMlazi 17 Hostels in eThekwini amid high political tensions.

Residents said the presence of the minister in these areas brought a sense of relief and assurances for their safety.

“I came early because I’d like to vote and return home early as I worry about my safety around KwaMashu hostel. Anything can happen here; shootings take place at any time, especially in the afternoons. People are even scared to wear their chosen political party branded regalia when around the hostel because of the history of violence between IFP and ANC,” said one voter at KwaMashu Hostel.

Cele told voters that he would be following up on all the hostels’ political violence cases and ensure that they are solved.

By the end of voting day, the KwaZulu-Natal IEC officials reported smooth voting in kwaMashu and uMlazi despite additional voting disruptions forced by a power outage in uMlazi. The IEC was able to make a contingency plan for power supply but this too was insufficient according to Ntombifuthi Masinga from the IEC.

“As soon as electricity was restored we were able to proceed in uMlazi, and that’s where you saw voting happening up until 1a.m. and counting started and the results are in; which we think is a sterling job by our staff which was working in those voting stations”, said Masinga. (Edited by Philile Masango)

Ntombifuthi Masinga from the IEC in KwaZulu-Natal details how voting went in some parts of the province.
Voting by torch light for Alex residents

Voting by torch light for Alex residents

Gauteng – Voters in Alexandra, Johannesburg, eagerly queued into the early hours of yesterday morning to cast their votes, only to be disappointed; as voting stations proved to be ill-prepared.

Voters at Nokuthula Special School had queued from around 5a.m., but were only able to cast their votes in a torch-lit room, following a power outage which began on Monday, 6th May 2019.

There were also widespread issues of ballot paper shortages throughout Alexander. Nokuthula Special School and Realogile High School are amongst the areas that reported such shortages.

Alexander residents were not shy to share their frustrations from the long queues.

“We woke up excited to cast our votes for change, but we were disappointed to find out there was no electricity. We should be done voting by now,” said Nomanithini Mbhele who braced the cold weather conditions to cast her vote.

A report by Alex FM journalist Cliff Shiko who provided election day news coverage in Alexander, Johannesburg.

Gauteng Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) representative Boitumelo Monkai says despite the challenges, the IEC was confident in delivering on its constitutional mandate; and this was illustrated when they promptly dealt with the ballot paper shortages and Section 24 forms in Alexander. – Alex FM, Gauteng (Edited by Philile Masango)

Gauteng IEC official Boitumelo Monkai admits says they were able to resolve ballot paper shortages promptly.

COGTA chastises rebellious Ntabankulu

Eastern Cape – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Fukile Xasa has decried the rebellious actions of residents of Ntlangano in Ward 1, Ntabankulu where voting did not happen as scheduled.

Xasa visited the area this morning after residents disrupted voting (special) yesterday as well as main voting today.

The residents denied IEC staff access to voting stations in the area by barricading roads with rocks. About 591 people who had registered to vote ended up being unable to cast their ballots.

Residents are demanding the removal of their Ward Councillor, the finishing off of an incomplete road, provision of electricity and the construction of a bridge.

“We have engaged the Ntlangano community and responded to all their concerns with realistic timeframes but they decided against allowing the IEC to do its constitutional mandate. It is clear that they do not want to vote regardless of the commitments we made as government. It is once again an unfortunate situation for those people of the area who are eager to vote,” said MEC Xasa.

Ntabankulu is one of the areas listed among the five voting stations that had still not opened by 17h00 today, according to the IEC.

“Despite the best efforts of the security agencies, government representatives and the Electoral Commission, five voting stations had still not opened by 17h00; Eastern Cape – one voting station in Buffalo city and one in Ntabankulu,” said IEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Masego Sheburi to journalists this afternoon.

The IEC says it will continue for as long as necessary, to make efforts to resolve the tensions in these volatile areas so that people have an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote. – Alfred Nzo FM (Edited by Philile Masango)

Alfred Nzo FM journalist Thato Ramapaito who had difficulty accessing polling stations in parts of Ntabankulu, spoke to Mr. Mkhandanisi Mkhanyisi the Ward 17 Councillor in Gxwaleni location who is unwanted by residents.

Vuwani protest leader arrested on Election Day eve

Limpopo – Police have arrested Arnold Mulaudzi, the man at the forefront of the Vuwani protests that forced the temporary closure of four voting stations today.

The leader of the Pro-Makhado Task Team was arrested last night, a few hours before over 26 million South Africans went to the polls today. He is due to appear in court on Friday, May 10.

Mulaudzi was arrested after he allegedly disrupted officials from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), as they finalized special voting on Tuesday.

In a media briefing from the National Results Operating Center in Pretoria, the IEC announced that four polling stations in Vuwani had to shut down briefly during the day, due safety concerns related to ongoing protests. By 17h00, the stations had re-opened.

“The Electoral Commission is saddened by the lack of respect for democracy and the rights of others in these limited areas and once again calls on these communities to put the national interests of the country above the narrow interests of the community at least for today,” said Masego Sheburi, Deputy Electoral Officer of the IEC.      

Vuwani has experienced intense political tension over the past two weeks; with members of the Pro Makhado Task Team adamant about their stance for an election boycott and a total shut down during voting day.

Tensions in Vuwani erupted after residents raised concern over the demarcation of their municipality. They rejected a 2016 decision to move Vuwani from Makhado municipality to the newly constituted Collins Chabane municipality.

Police continue to keep a close eye on the area which has been classified as one of the 79 election hot spots across the country. – Makhado FM, Limpopo (Edited by Philile Masango)

Only five votes in five hours

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.

Protests cause 17 voting stations to open late in KZN

KwaZulu-Natal – 17 polling stations in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province failed to open to voters over four hours after the official opening time, due to ongoing protests.

A total of ten of these stations are in eBhethani in Bergville (4 stations) and Entabamhlophe in Escourt (6 stations) in the Uthukela District. Election staff were unable to open at 7a.m. along with the rest of the country as residents protested fiercely.

Protesting residents want the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to address what they say is a critical issue for them – the issue of housing.

In a media briefing at the national Results Operation Center at noon today, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) confirmed that there were delays in the opening of 17 polling stations in the KZN province.

“By 11h30 today, only 17 voting stations remained unopened due to access challenges. 14 of these were in the southern coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The Electoral Commission is working closely with security agencies supported by government departments to open these stations as soon as possible and cafe for voters and election staff,” said IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo.

Mamabolo said the IEC will consider extending voting hours in the affected areas. Nqubeko FM, KwaZulu-Natal (Edited by Philile Masango)

Home Affairs expecting high volumes on Election Day

Home Affairs expecting high volumes on Election Day

The department of Home Affairs says it’s expecting a high number of human traffic today as people continue to apply for and collect their IDs and temporary ID certificates in order to vote.

Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane says they’ve witnessed a sharp increase in the number of people who’ve been visiting their offices since last Friday.

“On Monday May 6, we issued 4,226 temporary IDs. We also issued 20,939 smart cards IDs and 1,892 green bar-coded ID books.”

Home Affairs offices are open until 21h00 tonight when voting concludes. (Edited by Philile Masango)

Voters encouraged to vote early

Voters encouraged to vote early

KwaZulu-Natal – The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has encouraged voters to keep the precedent they have kept in past elections of voting early.

IEC Electoral Manager in KZN, Mawethu Mosery says voters should bear in mind that it is easier to manage all possible circumstances in daylight, particularly in the one voting station that will be open for a limited time in Nkovukeni under Kwamhlab’uyalinga municipality.

“The place is almost offshore. There’s about 239 voters expected in that venue. And we have to cross through a lake to get to that station. We are assisted by SAPS Special Unit to cross to this particular venue. The unfortunate part is that there is nature in this area such as hippos so we have to cross through and return from that venue during the day. This is why we will operate there from 9a.m. to until 14h00. We will still do the counting at the voting station, and return to mainland by 17h00. This is the only voting station in the province with such an arrangement,” says Mosery.

There are 4,888 voting stations set up across the KZN province. The IEC staff number in this province stands at over 60, 000.

Mosery says voters must ensure they are well organized and ready to vote when they get to the voting stations. He has reminded voters to bring their ID documents which will be accessible from the department of Home Affairs throughout voting day for those who may still not have their IDs.

“Bring either be your smart card or green bar-coded ID or your temporary ID certificate. Home Affairs will be operating similar hours to ours so that those who have lost their IDs or have not collected them can collect them. Voters must also ensure that their ballot paper is stamped at the back because a ballot paper without the authentic stamp is an invalid ballot. They can also wear anything; they can wear party t-shirts that identify them politically, there are no restrictions.” (Edited by Philile Masango)

IEC KZN Electoral Manager Makwethu Mosery has encouraged voters to keep the trend they have developed in the past; voting early to ensure a sanitized voting process.
uMgungundlovu reports minimal disruptions on special voting days

uMgungundlovu reports minimal disruptions on special voting days

KwaZulu-Natal – Over the past two days, the IEC processed over 9,500 applications for special votes in uMgungundlovu, a number it says is higher than that of applications received in the 2016 Local Government elections.

IEC District Manager in uMgungundlovu District Khulekane Mdadane, says special voting went relatively smoothly on the special voting days; with only one reported incident of disruption at the SACA Sports field in ward 37 of the first day of special voting. At this venue, IEC staff were reportedly intimidated by a group of residents who threatened to burn down the IEC tent erected in that area.

The residents were demanding money after claiming they had earlier been hired to cut grass in preparation for the election but were then not paid for their services.

The IEC was forced to dismantle the tent when special voting concluded on Monday.

However, it later transpired that this was untrue and the real intention of the group was to disrupt the special voting process.

The tent will be re-erected early this morning before voting commences at 07h00.

Yesterday, on day two of special voting in Dalton, uMshwathi, residents of Efaye blockaded access to two voting stations (Efaye and Emakeni) in ward 3. IEC staff eventually managed to get through to the two voting stations with SAPS assistance.

Some voters approved for special voting were unable to cast their votes yesterday and they will have to visit voting stations with the rest of South Africans today between 07h00 and 21h00 today. – uMgungundlovu FM, KwaZulu-Natal (Edited by Philile Masango)