Joburg voting stations ready for elections

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Johannesburg - With less than a few seconds to go before the country takes to the polls, Gauteng, the province with the largest voting population of 5.5 million is ready for action.

"We do not anticipate any logistical problems this morning as we worked around the clock to ensure everything is in order," the Gauteng Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) media relations offer said on Wednesday morning.

"All materials, including voting compartments, ballot boxes, administrative forms, stationary packs and a copy of the voters' roll had been delivered to all permanent voting stations," Solly Kganyago told BuaNews.

He said security items, including security seals, tape, indelible ink and ballot papers, were being delivered to voting stations under security escort.

"We are confident that we have acquired the right material for use at voting stations at the right quantities," Mr Kganyago said.

He said all presiding officers also underwent two days of training and a competency assessment.

"Our presiding officers have been recruited according to criteria which ensure they do not have official connections to political parties and have sufficient administrative experience," said Mr Kganyago.

Driving into the city one, can not help to notice the street poles around the city which are festooned in multi-coloured posters bearing party logos and slogans, each urging residents to vote.

In Johannesburg alone, IEC says there are over 1.8 million registered voters, with polling stations in every ward, adding that safety and security will be a priority in the city.

The provincial superintendent of the South African Police Service (SAPS), Eugene Opperman told BuaNews that the voting public should expect a heavy police presence at all polls around the country.

"The SAPS in conjunction with the metro police will be at each polling station making sure the voters are safe and that no disruptions take place.

"The police won't tolerate behaviour that is unruly, we have enough manpower and resources to apprehend anyone who does behave in this manner," he said.

Gauteng resident make up close to a quarter of the 23.1 million nationally registered voters.

Out of the 53 million ballots printed nationally, 12.5 million were to be used while a total of 28 458 electoral staff were running the voting process in Gauteng, the multi-cultural hub of South Africa.

The province attracts many people from different provinces and other countries in search for better life and better job opportunities.

The province has its economic roots in the gold industry that was sparked off by the discovery of gold in Johannesburg in 1886.

The unemployment rate shrunk from 30.8 percent in 2003 to 22.6 percent in 2007.

According g to Stats SA, between March 2006 and March 2007, an additional 146 000 new jobs were created in the province. This brought the total number of jobs as at March 2007 to 3.4 million.