Suspect arrested in Bekkersdal

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pretoria – One suspect has been arrested in connection with the burning down of three voting stations in Bekkersdal, south west of Johannesburg last night.

Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said the incident was criminal related as opposed to people protesting against voting.

“The IEC has replaced the tents, which were burned down in Bekkersdal and people are coming through to cast their votes. The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) have not received any incidents in other areas and provinces, including Limpopo and Eastern Cape,” Mokgale told SAnews.

Fourteen voting stations have been set up in Bekkersdal and security has been beefed up to ensure that the voting process runs smoothly without any incidents.

Many of the 25.39 million registered voters are braving the morning chill to get to voting stations early and avoid the expected long queues, while others may take advantage of the public holiday and lie in and vote for their chosen party later today.

President Jacob Zuma had declared Wednesday, 7 May, as a national holiday to allow citizens time to vote. 

The country’s 22 263 voting stations are scheduled to open on time at 7am and will remain open until 9pm, with international observer missions and IEC officials keeping a close eye on the movement of people.

The IEC says it has printed and distributed 62 892 200 ballot papers. The national ballot paper is the longest yet for an election in South Africa containing 29 contesting parties. This is three more than those that contested the 2009 General Elections, according to the IEC.

Other materials that have been distributed include over 220 000 ballot boxes; 412 000 staff ID stickers; 83 000 banners; over 100 000 voting station demarcation tapes and almost 60 stationary packs.

Today’s election holds a special significance for South Africans, as the year marks the celebration of 20 Years of Freedom since the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. The elections will also be the first in which the so-called 'Born Frees' - people born after 1994 in a democratic South Africa - will be casting their votes. –  

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