Alex residents cast their ballots, despite threats

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Johannesburg - Despite earlier threats to stage a protest march against service delivery on Election Day, residents of Alexandra have turned out in large numbers to cast their votes.

When BuaNews visited voting stations in and around the informal settlement, north of Johannesburg, there were long and winding queues at most stations.

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Presiding Officer at the Women for Peace Centre, Lizzy Tjeane, said voting had proceeded smoothly since officially opening at 7am.

"Security is tight and hopefully everything will go well until we close the voting station at 9pm.

"We are only waiting for more other ballot boxes since the one that we had been using is currently full. We are waiting for the national office to deliver another one," she said.

Shortly after casting his ballot at the centre, Tebello Tshabalala, 33 said: "I am happy because my voice will now be heard through his vote."

Mr Tshabalala said though he had been an undecided voter, he realised the importance of voting to bring about change and development in his area.

He said while many were losing patience and expected the delivery of services overnight, he have faith in government.

"I have seen a lot of development elsewhere in the country. I know that our time to receive better services will come as we are voting today," he said.

He hoped to see the construction of sports facilities for the youth so that they would turn away from drug and alcohol abuse.

Wheelchair bound Tshepo Moloi, 29, said this year's elections were exciting and he had been following the various parties' campaigns keenly.

He expects the new government to put more focus on people with disabilities with regard to employment opportunities in government departments.

"Government needs to consider the challenges facing disabled people, such as access to buildings. It is a struggle for us."

He also noted not everyone would be able to get housing, electricity, water and sanitation at the same time.