For The People

Wet Elections in the Northern Cape

It was a wet and cold start to the morning of the 8th of May in some parts of South Africa as thousands of citizens across the country headed to their various voting stations to cast their votes.

The South African Weather Service had issued warnings of thundershowers in parts of the country and had urged people to be safe and warm when going to cast their votes.

Though the wet weather did not deter the voters as many came out in numbers to go cast their votes, in Carter’s glen at the homing society, people stood in the line with umbrellas and protective gears whilst the DA and ANC offered members of the community beverages to keep warm. The voting stations opened at 7am while some arrived earlier than 7am. Zamani Saul, provincial chairperson of the ANC joined the queue while having a conversation with people in the lines. He expressed the importance of making every South African citizen making their mark.

After voting, Zamani posted a video on the ANC Northern Cape page, informing people to go out and cast their vote as well as thanking them for voting.

A lady working at the nearby garage, who preferred to remain anonymous, said she will not cast her vote as what was promised in the last elections has not been delivered.

“What we were promised in the last elections has not been delivered, so why should I bother voting again?” she questioned.

Whilst Andrew Louw, DA premier candidate for the Northern Cape casted his vote at the Kevin Nkoane School in West end, he pleaded with the community to look at the state the province is in and not waste their vote, concluding with a statement saying “Be brave and vote for the change that the DA can bring. Vote for a future that provides hope and opportunity to everyone, not just to a select few”.

At Boitumelo special school people in the surrounding area went to cast their vote at the school’s premises while the EFF and ANC were camping right outside the school. ANC members seemed to be celebrating ahead of the counting. In Royal street, at Bantu hall, a young man claimed that he was not being able to vote due to not having an identity card because he had lost it and did not have the money to make a temporary identity card.

Although the elections procedure was wet, they were still peaceful within Galeshewe and Carter’s Glen. Elections in Holpan however, came to a dismal halt due to protests in the small town outside of Barkly West.
An isolated rural community almost 60 kilometers north of Kimberley, was plunged into chaos in the early hours of the morning on election day. While a majority of residents motioned towards the humble voting station, other disgruntled community members clashed with police and electoral officials. Reports of voter intimidation summoned a strong police contingent to the local voting station. Protesters, unwilling to back down, pelted police officers with stones, who, in turn, opened fire with rubber bullets. Although the protesters dispersed, protracted running battles severely disrupted voting.

Disgruntled residents claim that they are unwilling to partake in governmental operations, citing inadequate service delivery as the main source of their discontentment. According to some protesters, government had failed to improve their community since the first democratic elections in 1994.

The IEC’s provincial manager, Elkin Topkins, confirmed that police, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and Correctional Services and the National Prosecuting Authority kept a close watch over the polling station. Community members were warned that those aiming to disrupt the electoral process would face severe consequences.

While the Namaqualand region had a different weather forecast for the day, people motioned towards different voting stations. Azizakhe Mbatha from Caroulesburg arrived at the voting station in the morning but the IEC personnel did not explain to her what the two ballots are for, “No one explained what the two ballot papers were for,” adding that she’s voting once again but the government has failed to deliver on its promises, “I’m here again even though government has failed me”.

Mpumelo Nhlumi is happy with how smoothly the voting went as he is expecting great change from President Ramaphosa.

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