A presiding officer and his deputy were fired this morning in Mthatha after being found to have influenced two special voters at a polling station on Tuesday.
Provincial elections commission head Thami Mraji said concerned residents at Emaweni voting station in King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality’s ward 35 informed the police on Tuesday afternoon.
They were identified as Nonkuleko Petse and her deputy Xoliswa Halu, who are both teachers at Maweni Junior Secondary.
“I got this report late yesterday. There was already a case opened with the police. But on my side I did an investigation to satisfy myself that I will be doing justice and treat them in a fair manner. Based on the facts and the facts satisfied me that those people would not be allowed to work at the voting station,” said Mraji.
“The report is that it’s two people and it’s two people too much,” he added. Mraji said the two have since been replaced and today the voting station is operating normally.
In unrelated cases, operations at at least four voting stations in the province delayed due to service delivery protests. These include:
* Gcobani community Hall in Buffalo City’s Ward 16 where protesters blockaded roads making the voting station inaccessible to IEC officials;
* In Alfred Nzo’s Ward 16 in Ntabankulu, the voting station was inaccessible as protesters had dug trenches on the road towards it overnight. Mraji said even though police have since levelled all surfaces towards the voting station, “voters are not coming to the centre to vote due to service delivery protests at the surrounding villages”, and
* In Amahlathi, two voting stations opened late than scheduled due to similar protests over service delivery. Mraji said at Ndakana voting station, gates were locked and police had to force them opened to allow voters in. “At Zamulwazi in Amahlathi’s Ward 8, police had to escort our staff into the voting station as protesters had blockaded roads.
Mraji said by noon all these voting stations were fully operational, thanks to police intervention.
Meanwhile in Nelson Mandela Metro and Kouga which covers Humansdorp and surrounding areas, heavy rain and strong winds disrupted operations at some voting stations where the IEC was using temporary structures such as tents.