The IEC has expressed satisfaction with the manner in which the by-elections have proceeded so far across the country. Polls are scheduled to close at 9pm with the IEC saying it is expecting a steady stream of people to vote after the close of business.
The by-elections come ahead of the Local Government Election scheduled for later in 2021.
Voting in the by-elections has been taking place in 95 municipal wards with over 600 000 voters registered.
Deputy CEO of the IEC Masego Shiburi says COVID-19 measures have been put in place at voting stations.
“COVID-19 measures that we put in place at the voting stations and when we did home visits to obviate the spread of the disease, they worked very well despite the rain. We were able to extend the right of franchise to those persons who voted by special vote because they were unable to come to a voting station because of physical conditions. Today, we opened all our stations in the morning in time except in very isolated instances where we travelled and we are extending the right of franchise to 600 00 people who are registered in the 95 wards.”
IEC Deputy Chief, Masego Sheburi gives progress update on by-elections:
The IEC in Gauteng says that despite disruptions at two voting stations in Naledi, Soweto, it has been smooth sailing in the by-elections everywhere else in the province. By-elections are being held in 14 wards in the province.
The IEC says 57 political party ward candidates and four independent candidates appear on the ballot papers in Gauteng.
The Electoral Commission’s Thabo Masemola says the IEC is sufficiently staffed.
“There’s sufficient staff members of the IEC. We have made arrangements with SAPS and JMPD to support our teams and to maintain law and order. We have managed to open both polling stations in Naledi, Soweto, that were problematic. Both stations are currently operational.”
Eastern Cape polling
IEC Provincial Electorate Officer Khayakazi Magudumana says, despite some challenges, everything is going according to plan in the Eastern Cape.
“The elections are happening in all the 117 voting stations. Of course, we had problems in the former Transkei where we had muddy roads this morning, but we managed to open all voting stations in the province with the exception of one where we are still having challenges in Amahlathi Fort Kox. There is a mob outside the voting station and they are not allowing us to vote there. They have actually locked the voting station itself, but we are now setting up a gazebo so that if there’s anyone willing to vote, they’re able to vote.”
Voting under way in the Eastern Cape:
The community of Tyutyu village outside Bhisho in the Eastern Cape says they want to use the by-elections at Buffalo City’s ward 14 to forge unity in the community. They are accusing the previous councillors of being divisive.
Locals say their proximity to the administrative centre of the province has not made any difference to them, especially in matters relating to employment.
“My wish for the change in Bisho is that youth should be employed and there should be fairness in terms of youth being employed. We ask that there should be employment, government should be involved. As much as we know that government is looking at rural areas, the premier and all the leadership must look after this place,” says one local.
“I’m expecting the councillor to look after the youth. I think they must build houses for the youth. We are staying with our children and they’re grown-ups now. They’re supposed to be having their own houses,” adds another.
– Additional reporting by Horisani Sithole.
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