KZN voters not discouraged by cold weather

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

KwaZulu-Natal - Not discouraged by the chilly weather, thousands of voters in KwaZulu-Natal gathered outside their polling stations to make their cross on the ballot sheet, from the early hours of the morning.

The weather in the province is extremely cold, as temperatures range between 5 and 23 degrees Celsius, with rain in some parts.

Mandla Zondo arrived at the Umlazi polling station, just outside Durban as early as 6am, because he wanted to be the first in the queue.

"Unfortunately I was not the first one to arrive. In fact, I was surprised when I arrived to find people already queuing. I thought that because of the cold weather today people won't be able to wake up early but they proved me wrong," said Mr Zondo.

He was accompanied by his 21-year-old daughter Sibongile Zondo who voted for the first time.

She told BuaNews she hardly slept last night because she could not wait to cast her for vote and woke up at 5am.

"The cold weather is nothing because I have been waiting for this day to come. Finally it is here and nothing can stop me from casting my vote and making my voice heard - not even the cold and rainy weather. Nobody can stand on my way," said an excited Sibongile.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), 23 million people are registered to vote this year and more than 18 million South Africans are expected to cast their vote today.

In KwaZulu-Natal alone, there are 4.4 million registered voters.

BuaNews also visited other polling stations in the rural area of Sundumbili in Mandeni where a number of voters where seen walking to polling stations wearing large jackets and jerseys and boots to keep the cold out.

Most said they had woken up early because they wanted to cast their vote as early as possible before the queues began to get long.

Thuleleni Cele from Nkandla said the cold weather would not stop her from casting her vote because one vote can make a different in her area.

She said Nkandla needed a lot of development such as proper roads, electricity and the clinics.

"Today was my third time voting. I did not vote in 2004. I was motivated to vote this year because the person who is going to be the president of this country would come from our rural area of Nkandla. I am hoping that the service delivery will be effective after the elections," said Ms Cele.

Chief provincial electoral officer in KwaZulu-Natal Mawethu Mosery said the voting process was going well in the province and they were hoping to attend to thousands of people before 9pm.

President of the African National Congress Jacob Zuma is expected to cast his vote later this morning at Ntolwane Primary School in his homestead of Nkandla, while Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sbu Ndebele will be cast his vote at Wendy Heights Primary School in Isipingo under the Durban district.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi has already cast his vote in Mahlabathini, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.