Opening day glitches at voting stations due to rain, protests

Four Eastern Cape voting stations are not operational on Day One of elections — two due to rain and the others due to protests, Electoral commission’s provincial head Thami Mraji announced today.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Dispatch at the election nerve centre at the East London ICC, Mraji said: “In Elliotdale in Ward 50, rain made it impossible to access two voting stations. We are watching the situation and we are confident that by tomorrow the stations will be accessible.”

In Ntabankulu, there are teething problems in Ward 19 in Mbizana local municipality where members of the community blockaded access to five voting stations.
“We have been able to resolve some of these disputes and delivery of material has just commenced, but two stations could not function due to the protests. Negotiations are continuing,”said Mraji.

 Electoral commission's provincial head Thami Mraji Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
Electoral commission’s provincial head Thami Mraji. Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA

This comes while the IEC is keeping its fingers crossed that the weather will not be  extreme on Wednesday as at least 51 voting stations are declared inaccessible and if the weather is bad, choppers will have to be used to transport election material.
“Should the rain fall heavily at these stations, we have asked the SAPS to provide us with 4×4 vehicles as well as choppers,” he added.

Two police officers will escort election material to 4699 voting stations across the province, “which means there will be at least 12 000 police officers on duty on Wednesday”.
Mraji said the state’s intelligence agencies will continue to monitor the situation on the ground “and give us a heads up on possible protests in areas we least expect it. For now I can safely say all systems are ready for the main day on Wednesday”, added Mraji.

The elections results website is now live at elections.timeslive.co.za 

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