Voting proceeding well in troubled Bekkersdal

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Nthambeleni Gabara

Bekkersdal - Voting is running smoothly in the troubled Bekkersdal settlement in Westonaria, in the West Rand.

A contingent of police and soldiers are maintaining high visibility not only at the voting station but in all the corners of the township, which has been identified as a hotspot, following on-going violent protests in the area.

A man was arrested for allegedly setting alight tents of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on the eve of the 2014 general election.

The strong law enforcement visibility is making it difficult for a certain group of disgruntled residents, who chased away IEC officials during the voter registration process in February, to disrupt elections today.

While police and soldiers are patrolling the area with their marked vehicles, others were patrolling on horseback, while a police helicopter hovers in the air.

Even though the IEC’s temporary voting station tent was torched last night, another tent was erected this morning. When SAnews arrived, South Africans of all age groups were standing in the long and winding queue to cast their votes.

At this voting station, voters with disabilities and the senior citizens were given preference, as they were permitted to jump ahead in the long queue.

Speaking to SAnews while busy helping out voters, an electoral official said the voting process has been running smoothly so far.

“… We had a little challenge in the morning, but everything is unfolding according to our initial plan now.

“Voters are flocking in their numbers, which is very good and I can proudly confirm that we’ve not yet encountered any problem so far,” the official said.

An excited voter, Siyabulela Ndleleni, 33 said: “I should have voted in the morning, but I then decided to help the elders and people with disabilities with transport to this voting station.

“I will remain in this queue until I cast my vote. As a young person, I know that there are people who died for us to have this opportunity to elect the leadership of our choice. My vote is going to help our country to move forward.” –

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