Majority of voters already vote, some hitches

Henry

The majority of registered voters had already cast their vote in the national and provincial elections by 11:00 on Wednesday.

However, the exact number of votes that have been cast so far may not yet be disclosed in terms of law. The Election Commission (ECC) does expect a high turnout.

According to the commission, 93% of polling stations were ready to serve voters by 07:00. Many South Africans were already standing in long queues outside the polling stations – an indication of South Africans’ enthusiasm, according to Masego Sheburi, the IEC’s deputy chief executive of elections.

Sheburi said at 13:00 as part of the IEC’s first media conference that the voting had largely gone smoothly so far.

However, this does not mean that this day passes without challenges.

Some polling stations could not open on time this morning, because ballots arrived late at the polling stations. This is because letters from several points were transported together to facilitate police escort.

In the Eastern Cape, five polling stations, including stations in Port St. Johns, initially not opening at all due to strikes outside the polling stations. These polling stations were able to open their doors by 12:00 and votes are currently being cast there.

“At 12 noon, election operations across the country have made good progress, with minimal incidents reported,” Sheburi told reporters at the National Results Center in Midrand.

Sheburi admitted that there were some challenges with ballots and voting devices. He said that although the IEC “could do without it”, none of the challenges called into question the integrity of the election.

He mentioned a video on social media where a damaged ballot box was lying outside a polling center in Modimolle, with the assumption that ballots had been lost.

However, the IEC gave the assurance that these boxes did not contain ballots, but were only surplus boxes intended for the special election, but never used.

Meanwhile, the voting continues.

Polling stations close at around 21:00. Voters who are still in the queue by 21:00 will still be helped. There is also no shortage of ballots, Sheburi assured. About 90 million ballots were made available for election day.