Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

IEC says Election Day protests have not closed voting stations

IEC Election Day protests voting stationsThe IEC’s chief electoral officer has lauded SAPS officials for their diligence and dedication.

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The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC)
has downplayed the seriousness of sporadic protest action on Election Day.

Note: Follow our live coverage of the 2019 general elections here.

During his midday address, IEC chief electoral officer, Sy
Mamabolo, faced a barrage of questions, many of which centred on various
disruptions which had embattled voting stations across the country on Election
Day.

IEC media conference clears up confusion

Speaking from the Commission’s Results Operations Centre
(ROC) in Pretoria, Mamabolo reiterated his fierce warning to those hoping to
disturb the day’s progress. The chief electoral officer added that, in spite of
isolated incidents, no voting stations had been forced to close indefinitely. Mamabolo
said:

“Protest action, yes. In areas like Dinokeng, there is on-going protest action, however, it has not yet affected operations to the point where we have had to close.”

Mamabolo added that the South African Police Service (SAPS)
was consistently monitoring other areas in Gauteng, including Kagiso, west of
Johannesburg. Hotspots flared up in KwaZulu-Natal earlier on Wednesday morning;
the IEC, together with SAPS, are in the process of securing the integrity of a
number of voting stations in the province.

The IEC’s chief electoral officer lauded SAPS officials for
their diligence and dedication on Election Day, saying:

“The South African police are doing all they can to ensure that those protests are stopped and that those involved, who are impeding people’s rights to cast their ballots, are investigated and arraigned for their behaviour.

It’s not such that it has led to a point where stations have had to close.”

Big trouble in little Holpan

Mamabolo didn’t, however, comment on the fierce protests which gripped the small town of Holpan in the Northern Cape. The local voting station, about 50 kilometres north of Kimberley, was plunged into chaos earlier on Wednesday when disgruntled residents intimidated prospective voters and electoral officials.

Police were called to the scene and attempted to disperse
the protesters with rubber bullets. Despite sever disruptions, the IEC’s
provincial manager, Elkin Topkins, remained confident that voters would still
be able to make their mark.

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