Confusion as voting station opened only 4 hours
THERE was confusion in the Dvokodvweni Constituency on Saturday that led to a number of voters abandoning the voting process.
While the voting process in many polling stations nationwide started at 7am as per norm, this was not the case at Mhlangatane as the voting process only started minutes after 2pm. The electorate was informed in the morning that there had been a mix up with the ballot papers as the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) submitted the wrong nominees for the executive committee members (Bucopho). Presiding officer Sibusisio Nkambule said after consulting with the head office it was decided that they would print new ballot papers.
“It was a technical error that was out of our hands because the EBC gave us ballot papers that had the wrong nominees for bucopho. Their names were confused with those of Mdumezulu and we had to ask that they reprint the ballot papers. It was for that reason that we had to wait for so long,” he said. Despite the seven-hour delay, that saw hundreds of people waiting in the scorching heat, the station was closed just after 6pm. This means that the process was only open for less than four hours. This did not go down well with the voting public who protested the situation in vain.
Most people felt that the elections were far from being ‘free and fair’, arguing that voting process was opened for just four hours while in other stations they were given the full 10 hours or more.
“This is not fair at all; we do not even know why the whole process was not postponed. People voting at different stations for people under the same constituency have been voting for hours now yet here we are. This is what is called unfair elections, yet we will be told that people won freely and fairly,” said Sandile Dlamini.
Another voter, Khandzabesindza Fakudze said the worst part of the confusion was that many people decided to walk away after they saw that the process was delaying. He said it did not matter whether it was a large number of people or just a few because every vote was important. “We do not know if the results are fair because many people walked away with their votes. Whether it was hundreds of them or just 10 people we do not know, it does not even matter because every vote is important. The youth left to watch the Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs game without voting and it is obvious that they will not come back in time,” he said.