The IEC's chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo, Picture: BUSINESS DAY
The IEC's chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo, Picture: BUSINESS DAY

Police helped reopen some of the 17 voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal where people were prevented from casting their ballots, and were working at containing protests in the North West, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said on Wednesday. 

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said no efforts would be spared in ensuring that those who were prevented from casting their votes in the two areas eventually voted, noting that adequate supplies of voting materials including more than 60-million ballot papers were at the ready.

The two provinces were flagged as high-risk areas by police minister Bheki Cele last week, who stressed that special attention would be given to them. He previously said that 51,000 police officers would be deployed to voting stations across the country on Wednesday.

Addressing the media at the IEC’s national results centre in Pretoria, at midday on Wednesday, Mamabolo said some of the 17 voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast region had been opened.

Regarding the North West, he said the protests by residents of some villages in the platinum mining province had not affected the actual voting process.

He noted, however, that in some instances people could not access voting stations because trenches had been dug along the access roads.

“The police are doing all it can to ensure that those protests are stopped and those perpetuating them and stopping people from voting are arrested.”

KwaZulu-Natal, which is ANC’s largest province in terms of members, has been rocked by party leadership disputes, general instability, gatekeeping and political assassinations.

In July 2018, a task team was set up to investigate political killings in the province, and an interministerial committee was also formed by President Cyril Ramaphosa after the murder of ANC veteran Musawenkosi Mchunu in 2018.

The task team has made arrests in relation to the murders of former ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, and other politicians including Dumisani Moyo, Londiwe Mhlongo, Derick Mthethwa, Wandile Ngobeni, Sibuyiselo Dlamini and Sibusiso Mbhobo.

Mamabolo said a deputy presiding officer in the Eastern Cape died overnight due to an illness and an elderly voter apparently died at a voting station at Elandspoort in Tshwane

He said a vehicle accident involving election staff in the Eastern Cape did not result in serious injuries.

The IEC was expected to hold another media briefing at 5pm on Wednesday.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za