No electricity no vote, vow Naledi residents in Soweto

No electricity no vote, vow Naledi residents in Soweto

By-elections in Soweto, Johannesburg, got off to a rocky start.

Jozi FM is reporting that community members in Naledi locked the gates of two voting stations, prohibiting voters from entering the area to cast their ballot.

The community is upset about the lack of electricity, which they say has been off for six months now due to a transformer that has exploded.

They say although they reported the matter to authorities, nothing was done to repair it.

The residents have blocked roads with rocks and burning tyres.

An ANC councillor in the City of Johannesburg Matshidiso Mfikwe has slammed the residents for blocking others from voting.

She says the residents are committing crime.

But residents aren’t budging. They say: “We just need a box and we just go to a ballot box and cast our vote. We want to vote but not in a dark area.”

By-elections are taking place in 95 wards across 55 municipalities in all the country’s nine provinces on Wednesday. 

Of the 95, 14 are in Gauteng across six municipalities.

The by-elections are being contested by 40 political parties, with a total of 444 candidates certified as contestants. It includes 19 independent candidates.

The polls were supposed to be held between March and September but the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) postponed them due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The elderly and people with disabilities cast their ballots yesterday.