No hiccups on first day of special voting as residents ‘fix country’

The first day of special voting in South Africa’s seventh democratic general national and provincial elections got off to a smooth start in some parts of Johannesburg and Boksburg.

One million registered for special vote

This comes as some of the more than one million South Africans approved for special votes went to cast their votes.

The Atlasville Tennis Club in Atlasville, Boksburg, was buzzing with a hive of activity on Monday afternoon as dozens of voters were seen coming in and out of the voting station.

ANC and DA party representatives, stationed outside the voting station, were sitting underneath their gazebos branded in their party colours.

The presiding officer of the voting station, Simon Gumede, said the station has 145 voters approved for special votes.

Out of this number, 119 will be casting their votes at the voting station and 26 will be voting from their homes or places of confinement.

By 2:30pm on Monday, Gumede said 67 people had cast their special votes.

Gumede said the station has a grand total of 4384 registered voters.

No problems

“Everything has been going well so far. There have been no problems. Everything is going excellent,” said Gumede.

Gauteng ANC provincial secretary TK Nciza cast his special vote at the Atlasville Tennis Club.

Dressed in a black ANC T-shirt and yellow ANC cap, with blue sweatpants, Nciza walked into the voting station and cast his vote, before walking out of the voting station with a huge smile.

The IEC said a total of 1 668 076 special votes applications have been approved.

Out of this number, 624 593 are for voters who will be visited at their homes or places of confinement and 1 043 483 will voters who will vote at voting stations where they are registered.

Special voting takes place at voting stations and voters’ homes or places of confinement on Monday and Tuesday from 9am to 5pm.

The IEC said around 27,7 million registered voters are expected to cast their votes on Wednesday at their respective voting stations during the normal voting day. Voting stations will be open on Wednesday from 7am until 9pm.

Meanwhile, a couple of voters at the Atlasville Tennis Club said they were excited about having cast their votes on Monday.

Cheerful about voting

Don and Brenda Sinclair said they voted because they wanted to help fix the country.

Don is 72 and Brenda is 69.

“I voted so that we can fix up the country. There are a lot of service delivery problems. There are problems with water, electricity, and potholes. I voted for change,” said Brenda.

Meanwhile, voting at John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation in Milpark, Johannesburg, was going smoothly in the early hours of the morning with few people coming into the station to cast their votes.

Slow start in Polokwane

In Polokwane, Limpopo, the special voting process on Monday got off to a slow start.

For pensioners in Seshego township, voting from the comfort of their homes was a beneficial exercise free from the potential stampede at the polling station.

As early as 8am, voting stations were already opened for voters who will not be able to access their voting station on Wednesday.

Dinah Mosomane and Phineas Lusiba, who are both 83 years old, were among the special voters who cast their votes during domestic visits by officials from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The two pensioners have endured the harsh realities of apartheid and its draconian rule of disenfranchising black people but the convenience a special voting is a welcomed gesture for them.
Woke up with excruciating backache

Mosomane said: “I woke up this morning with an excruciating backache and if it were not for the special votes, I would have forfeited my enfranchisement. The visit by IEC officials is applauded. The officials were very helpful and the presence of respective party agents made the voting process easier.”   

Mosomane said her vote was not a secret because she has voted for a leader to will change the fortunes of the marginalised South Africans.

Mosomane, who is Malema’s neighbor at Masakaneng section in Zone 1, Seshego, said she believed in Malema because he has never made promises and failed to keep.

She said: “When Julius promised me that he was going build me a big house, I never doubted him because I knew he is was not a liar who give people empty promises. “South Africa needs young blood and Julius is that person who can take this country where there will be service delivery.

Born to lead or arrogant?

“I know many people don’t understand him, but for those who raised him in this neighbourhood, we know that he was born to lead. He has been a leader since childhood and has grown his profile to become a head of state.

“I am speaking from experience because I have seen him changing people’s lives in his township. Because of him, our subsistence farming if flourishing since he donated us tractors, we never starve because he has established a soup kitchen for everyone irrespective of political affiliation, during winter we are warmed by the blankets he donates and indigent families are supplied with food parcels.”   

Lusiba said the IEC’s idea of special votes is an indication of a caring commission.

He was picked ferried by a car to the voting station about 500 meters away from his house in Zone 2, [Seshego].

“During apartheid we were barred from voting. However, now officials come and pick us up to the polling stations to vote for the parties of our choices. These special votes are stress-free because one does not have to walk long distances and queue for hours while waiting to cast the vote. This is greatly appreciated,” said Lusiba.

However, Lusiba has a different view on Malema, whom he accused of being arrogant and disrespectful for the elderly.

“There is no way this country can be ruled by that disrespectful man. Since he rose to power, he has been big-headed and that kind of a person cannot be a leader. What kind of role model is he who humiliate elders in public? I have heard many stories of corruption about him that he and his comrades once collapsed our province [Limpopo] when Cassel Mathale was still the premier. I will never trust him.”

Rather the devil you know

Lusiba said even though the ANC-led government is failing to supply water in Seshego, he will continue to vote for the congress movement.

“There is a saying about ‘rather the devil you know’ and I’m sticking with the tried and tested. Their failures cannot be as bad as a government under Malema. We can only hope that these ANC comrades apply this step aside rule and oust those who are corrupt. In that way, we will be voting for a party that has integrity and perhaps could deliver on their promises” said Lusiba.

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