Officials left traumatised after shots fired near voting station

The final day of special votes started off on a dramatic front in the Western Cape following the arrest of a suspect who was involved in a shootout with police nearby a voting station in Gugulethu on Tuesday.

Special votes continued across South Africa ahead of the national and provincial elections on Wednesday.

An EFF party agent who spoke to Sunday World on condition of anonymity said they were arriving at the voting station when they heard gunshot sounds. 

Party agents, volunteers left traumatised

“It was around 8.30am and we were just arriving at the voting station. Police were on the scene and they fired shots at the perpetrators. We found out that the perpetrators were in that area to collect extortion money from a shop close to the school.  It was very scary for us; we thought we were just going to a voting station, not a dangerous situation,” the party agent said.  

This comes as Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile revealed that in the province’s 1,572 voting stations, 49 were deemed high risk.  

Police arrest suspect 

Police spokesperson colonel Andrè Traut confirmed a suspect was arrested following the incident.  

“At around 08:50am [Tuesday] morning SAPS members responded to a shooting incident in Koorhof Street Gugulethu and upon their arrival the suspects fled in a Toyota Avanza. During the pursuit, one suspect jumped out and shot at police.  

He was arrested and disarmed and is being detained on charges of attempted murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition and malicious damage to property as the police vehicle was damaged.  

Once charged, the suspect, who is in his twenties, will make a court appearance in Athlone. There is no indication that the incident is linked to the 2024 general elections,” he said.  

Extortion incidents on the rise in Gugulethu  

EFF councillor Mzubanzi Dambuza said they were grateful that the shooting incident did not severely impact the voting stations.

“The incident affected Nobantu voting staff in NY89 and the Andile voting station in New Cross. We are grateful that these incidents did not impact the voting stations and have them ending up being closed.

But we must point out that the incident must have played a role in the fact that not all special voters came to cast their votes. The issue of extortion is a huge problem in the area of Gugulethu. It is one of the problems the EFF is going to deal with when we enter the Union Buildings. Party agents and volunteers were traumatised but decided to continue with the special votes to ensure the vote of the EFF is protected at all costs,” Dambuza said.

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