All set for the polls – but brace for headwinds

Image: Gallo Images

There have been a few set-backs, but the nation is set to go to the polls on Wednesday in an election that promises to deliver a number of surprises.

While both the ANC and the DA in the Eastern Cape are convinced the results will go their way, one of the big shocks could be in the Western Cape where the DA has already admitted that retaining the province will depend on a high voter turnout.

A total of 27,000 IEC staff have been deployed to the Eastern Cape where a second day of special voting got under way in earnest on Tuesday.

There are 4,791 voting stations in the province.

The IEC said elderly people would be given preferential treatment at voting stations and would not be expected to stand in the queues on Wednesday.

Further afield, the IEC removed a deputy presiding officer from a voting station in Benoni, Ekurhuleni on Tuesday. This followed an investigation into a video showing a party agent assisting with the transfer of special votes.

The video, which went viral on Monday, showed a party agent helping to transfer special votes in their double envelopes from a ballot bag used during home visits to a ballot box in the voting station. The handling of any electoral material by any party agent is prohibited.

As expected, Eastern Cape party leaders were full of confidence on Tuesday that results would go their way.

ANC leader in the province Oscar Mabuyane said he was “optimistic” and that the party was “more than ready”.

“There has been concern in terms of service delivery, and we acknowledge that we will have to address this,” he said.

Mabuyane and his team have been seeking to place a strong focus on economic development, and to this end, have been talking to business professionals, both black and white, throughout the province.

“So far we have been happy with the response.

“We need to address economic development. You can’t have cohesion in our country if you don’t have decent jobs for people, and that is why we are paying a lot of attention to SMMEs and looking at luring investment not only from off-shore, but locals.”

The scandal-ridden Nelson Mandela Bay metro, run by a coalition led by mayor Mongameli Bobani, of the UDM, has been denounced by President Cyril Ramaphosa as “dysfunctional”.

Mabuyane said coalitions were about “trade-offs” and were not sustainable in the long term. He said there needed to be a clear vision which the ANC would implement if it won a majority in the metro.

He said the party had done “relatively well” in Buffalo City, rolling out housing to “95%” of residents in Mdantsane.

However, the party had to cut red tape, hampering delivery.

The DA’s premier candidate, Nqaba Bhanga, was equally confident his party would fare well. “We are aware some people will protest by not voting, but the best way to protest is to vote for a new government,” he told the Dispatch. He, too, said the current “coalition of corruption” in Nelson Mandela Bay could not continue.

In August, DA mayor Athol Trollip was controversially ousted through a motion of no confidence by opposition parties and DA councillor Mbulelo Manyati.

He said people were dying in the metro as they fought over money gained through corrupt activities. He also emphasised growing business as the way forward for the country.

“If you want business to prosper, you must have a decisive president. Ramaphosa is run by the ANC. He is not decisive.”

The DA would be placing a strong focus on BCM, he said.

“I have never seen such a municipality which collapses in front of people’s eyes. “We are going to target the problem buildings in areas like Quigney, which I visited recently. Nobody enforces by-laws in BCM. There are are no services in Mdantsane. We have to remove the ANC in this metro.”

At national level, the IEC is liaising with disaster management teams to ensure that natural disasters do not affect voting. In April, the KZN and Wild Coast were hit by floods that claimed more than 70 lives and caused damage of more than R1bn. Rehabilitation work has been taking place in the storm-affected areas.

The IEC has been assured by Eskom that there will be no load-shedding during the elections but it has made contingency plans for coping with localised power failures.

However, while there are no extreme weather conditions forecast that could prevent people from getting to the polls‚ in some areas voters might need to take their umbrellas and windbreakers with them.

According to the SA Weather Service‚ parts of the Northern Cape‚ the eastern parts of the Western Cape‚ western parts of the North West‚ the Free State‚ the Eastern Cape and the southern parts of KwaZulu-Natal could have thundershowers on voting day.

The weather bureau said the Northern Cape‚ North West‚ Free State and parts of the Eastern Cape could also expect strong‚ gusting winds.

“It is thus recommended that extra caution be taken when erecting structures in these places‚” SAWS said.

Gauteng is expected to have the best weather on voting day – fine and warm.

Mpumalanga and Limpopo may wake up to cloud and light drizzle‚ but this will clear later . The Western Cape would be gripped by a cold front.

Light rain will reach the Garden Route.

– Additional reporting by TimesLIVE

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