The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says voting started smoothly and on time in majority of voting stations across the country. South Africans are casting their votes in different areas across the country in the 2016 Local Government Elections.
IEC Chairperson Glen Mashinini says the situation in identified hot spots has been calm.
“The Electoral Commission is also very pleased to report that the situation was reported as calm and voting was underway in areas identified as potential hotspots in the run-up to the elections including Vuwani, Limpopo, Emfuleni and Midvaal in Gauteng; and Unzimkhulu in KwaZulu-Natal.”
There have however been reports of community protests in areas in ward 16 of Ntabankulu and ward 8 in Amathole in the Eastern Cape.
“Security forces have been deployed to ensure voting could start as soon as possible.” Other voting stations in Qwaqwa, Free State, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in the Eastern Cape were affected by delays and the late arrival of election staff . “
In another incident, a voter passed away at a voting station in the Northern Cape. Mashinini says the cause of the death is not yet clear, however police are dealing with the issue.
Some voters have been turned away from voting stations by electoral staff for wearing political party regalia.
“Wearing such clothing by voters is not prohibited. It is only prohibited for party agents and candidates to wear party clothing inside a voting station,” he clarified.
The IEC also reminded employers to relieve employees to go and vote. “The Electoral Commission would also like to remind all employers, especially those in the agriculture, retail, transport, mining and other sectors, which operate continuously, to allow South Africans to vote. It is illegal to prevent any voter from exercising their right to vote.”
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