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2019 Elections - Voting stations prevented from opening in the Eastern Cape

May 8, 2019
2019 Elections - Voting stations prevented from opening in the Eastern Cape

Despite challenges, IEC happy with conduct of 2019 Elections

East London - With just hours to go until voting stations are scheduled to close, voting in the 2019 National and Provincial Elections continues to be conducted smoothly and steadily throughout South Africa, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says.

"Those voters who may have been waiting for the initial rush to pass are urged to urgently make their way to voting stations to ensure they have an opportunity to vote before stations close at 21H00," said the IEC's Kate Bapela.

"As noted earlier, no voters who are in a queue at 21H00 will be turned away and voting will continue until the last voter in the queue has been served."

She said that the Electoral Commission remains highly satisfied and encouraged with voting progress throughout the day and throughout the country.

"However, there have been some setbacks including those caused by on-going community unrest in isolated areas which have affected election operations. Despite the best efforts of the security agencies, government representatives and the Electoral Commission, five voting stations had still not opened by 17H00."

In the Eastern Cape, two voting stations remained shut - one voting station in Buffalo City and one in Ntabankulu. In the KwaZulu-Natal, three voting stations in Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality in the uThukela District (Escort) had not opened.

"Efforts to resolve these and provide voters in these areas with an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote are continuing and will continue for as long as is necessary," Bapela said.

"Four voting stations in Vuwani, Limpopo which had earlier opened were also forced to close for a period during the course of the day due to unrest and safety concerns. However, these have all now 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."

She said that reports have been also received of temporary shortages of ballot papers at some voting stations where distribution plans were not fully implemented.

"A factor which contributed to shortages was the ability of voters to cast their votes at any voting station in their province in line with section 24 (a). In most cases shortages were rapidly resolved by the redistribution of ballots and reserve stock and voting resumed quickly," Bapela added.

"The Electoral Commission calls on all registered voters who have not yet voted to use the final four hours of voting to make their voice heard and to make these the most successful, peaceful and inclusive elections yet in our country’s history."

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