Despite a few operational glitches, the country's fourth Local Government Elections “went well”, said the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) Chief Electoral Officer Advocate Pansy Tlakula.
Speaking on Wednesday night at the IEC’s Results Operation Centre (ROC), Tlakula said the voting went well throughout the country and was still going well in those areas where voting stations were still open.
“The IEC will allow those voters who arrived in their station perimeters before 7pm to vote. No-one will be denied their right to vote,” she said. A few voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga were still open by 10pm on Wednesday night.
Tlakula said she was adamant that the IEC would reach its target of a 40% voter turnout in this election.
“We are happy with the process so far. Some of the challenges we experienced earlier in the morning continued. However, none of these challenges are insurmountable.
“We thank voters for their patience and promise that everyone will be given an opportunity no matter how long it takes,” she added.
Some of the challenges faced, according to Tlakula, included insufficient ballot papers, technical problems with scanners and power outages. About seven IEC officials, six in Limpopo and one in the Free State were dismissed for displaying political party stickers or banners.
“Where we experienced power outages, generators were brought in. Police dealt with any protests near and around the voting stations. We need to emphasise that no protest impeded access into the voting stations,” she said.
Results from Mohlakeng in Randfontein came in an hour after voting closed. The results will continue streaming in until all have been received. By law, the IEC is supposed to announce the results within seven days to allow parties to object if they so wish.
Meanwhile, two voters died of natural causes while waiting to cast their ballots in the Western Cape.
“We are sad to announce that two people died in the Western Cape, one while he was waiting to cast his vote in Tafelsig in Mitchell Plain. The other one, a lady, died outside the perimeters of the voting station in Kannaland in Ladysmith also in the Western Cape. We wish their families a speedy recovery from their loss,” Tlakula said.