Voting comes to an end

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pretoria- There were still some people waiting to cast their votes in the Western Cape as voting stations closed their doors in the local municipal elections.

"We still have some people queuing in Khayelitsha and Langa but the last person who is in the voting station location by 7pm will be allowed to cast his/her vote. Those who come after 7pm will not be allowed to vote," the Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) Reverend Courtney Sampson said on Wednesday evening as stations were about to close.

"At the end of the day we were able to do what we were supposed to do," he said adding that in the last couple of hours before the 7pm deadline a spike in voter turnout had been noticed.

About 2.7 million people had registered to vote in the province of which the counting of votes would start as soon as polls closed.

He could not say how many voters had already cast their votes as counting was yet to begin.
"We are now wrapping up," said Sampson.

A total of about 23 million South Africans were expected to turn out in their numbers to cast their votes in the local municipal elections throughout the country.

In Limpopo, voting proceeded smoothly according to provincial IEC spokesperson Motsiri Ramafalo.

"Despite the minor glitches we experienced in the morning, I can firmly confirm that voting is relatively going smoothly in all our 2 781 voting stations.

"Unless otherwise there might be some changes from our national office (Pretoria) we are not planning to extend the voting hours."

Earlier this morning, a school library in Burgersfort, where voting was meant to take place, was burnt by learners who were fighting with their principal. The incident took place before the voting station opened.
In total, Limpopo had registered 2.34 million voters

In Mpumalanga, voting went off smoothly, according to provincial IEC spokesperson Steve Ngwenya.

A total of 1 565 stations opened their doors to the province's 1.7 million registered voters.
Earlier in the day there was a mix up of ballot papers at a station in Govan Mbeki and Nelspruit which was resolved.

"We also had a problem at a station at the Mpakeni Primary School in Mbombela when officials founds that the road leading to the station had been blockaded by protesters. Police arrived at the scene advising officials not to enter the premises until they had cleared the area," he explained.

In the North West voting went smoothly with only a few of the 1 578 voting stations opening late.

"There are still some stations within the province where there are still queues," Provincial Electoral Officer Dr Tumelontle Thiba said shortly before 7.30 pm on Wednesday night.

As to the question of voter turnout Thiba said that in local municipal elections usually voter turnout is at 40 percent.

"We will begin counting this evening and then we will know how many people turned out to vote," she said.

Voting stations across the country opened at 7am this morning and closed at 7pm. IEC Chairperson Brigalia Bam said 23.6 million have registered to take part in the elections.

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