Long queues discourage voters in Middelburg


The voting process of some polling stations in Middelburg was delayed for hours on Wednesday, as the electronic voting system was out of order from early morning.

Residents who voted at Kanonkop Primary School had little patience and tempers were high. Some residents, including the elderly, waited for three hours to draw their crosses at Kanonkop Primary School.

Some voters even left the polling station before they even drew their crosses.

“This is absolutely unacceptable. I was at the front of the line, before an IEC officer told us that they were going to change the system instead and categorize it by surnames. Then I stood at the very back again and waited another two hours,” says a resident.

According to Helda de Klerk, a DA councilor in Middelburg, she later provided the IEC officers with more selection lists and arranged for more officers to speed up the process. “Since 14:00, the queues have moved significantly faster.”

Apart from that, there were quite a few first-time voters who were excited to be able to do their bit for democracy.

“I decided to vote, because our country needs all the votes possible to save it. Every vote makes a difference. I am still young and want to fight for a future in South Africa,” says a learner who is voting for the first time this year.

Deon van den Bergh, a matric student from Middelburg High School, also thinks it is everyone’s duty to vote. He decided to vote because his family, schools and social media encourage it.

Alleged interference with the voting process

Two suspects were arrested on Monday at a polling station in Hendrina, Mpumalanga, for allegedly interfering with the special election process.

According to Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer of the IEC, one suspect is still at large.

“We welcome all interventions made by our law enforcement officers. Two arrests have been made and two cases are being investigated by the SAPS for interference with electoral processes,” says Mamabolo.

According to De Klerk, another incident was reported on Wednesday morning after a ballot box was discovered without a seal.

“The police were there when we saw the seal was off. They immediately reported it and took pictures of it. We will determine on Wednesday evening what the state of affairs is regarding the box,” says De Klerk.