Some hiccups in KwaZulu-Natal, says IEC

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Durban - Despite a slight technical glitch at some of the voting stations early this morning, voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal which did not open at 7am this morning are gradually coming into operation.

A total of 578 stations did not open out of the 4187 stations in the province.

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Thabani Ngwira, told BuaNews that the voting process was proceeding peacefully at most voting stations in the province as well as at those that were opening.

"There were slight technical problems in some voting stations earlier in the morning but everything was running smooth and the problem has been solved."

The province has been flagged as a potential hotspot for political violence and voting disruptions, especially in hotspots such as Nongoma, Ntabamhlophe, Ulundi, KwaDukuza, Greytown and Msinga.

However, Mr Ngwira said no incidences of violence have been reported.

He added that law enforcement agencies have been deployed at stations since last night to ensure security and order.

A large number of anti-riot police and soldiers have been deployed in the province to unmask the perpetrators of political violence. National intervention units have already been working to arrest suspects in election related incidents

Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa said last week that ground forces were ready to protect all citizens voting on Election Day and provide additional security support to the electoral officers of the IEC.

Meanwhile, President of the African National Congress Jacob Zuma will be casting his vote in his hometown, Nkandla, in northern KwaZulu-Natal at around 11am.

Mr Ngwira said security has been beefed up to ensure security and order is maintained in the Nkandla area. Many people are expected to gather at this station.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi cast his vote in Mahlabathini, in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Mr Ngwiri affirmed that the law enforcement agencies have been deployed to prevent possible conflicts in the area

There are 4.4 million registered voters in KwaZulu-Natal.