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Elections 2024: At least 93% of voting stations managed to open on time, while others delayed due to late delivery of voter material

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The IEC said the delays were caused by various reasons, including late delivery of materials, delayed escorts by security services or protests by certain community members.

Voting stations have been busy throughout the day. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

THE Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) said at least 93% of polling stations opened on time, both online and physically, while some had delays.

The IEC said the delays were caused by various reasons, including late delivery of materials, delayed escorts by security services or protests by certain community members.

However, the IEC said its staff members reported to work on time.

“They started welcoming the first of the 26 million eligible voters at 7am at the 23,292 voting stations across the country … In most stations, queues had formed even before the stations opened,” said the IEC.

The commission further added that at 12pm, election operations around the country reported good progress, with minimal incidents reported.

“The Electoral Commission assures voters that adequate supplies of all materials, including more than 90 million ballot papers, are available, and every voter will be assisted to vote. The commission further urges voters in the queues to be patient, as traditionally, voting queues peak early as voters often seek to vote first thing during the day. Where there were difficulties with our voter management device, instructions were issued for voting to proceed on the manual voters’ roll,” said the IEC in a statement.

Meanwhile, the government has welcomed the high turn-out of voters heading out to cast their votes.

“There is a conspicuous and palpable sense of jubilation at voting stations across the country as citizens exercise their constitutional right in this seminal seventh national election. The dignity and patience with which voters are conducting themselves is a sign of our maturing democracy, and we are confident that these elections will build on our history of free and fair elections” said Nomonde Mnukwa, the acting government spokesperson.

Mnukwa added that elderly, pregnant, and sick voters are encouraged to approach electoral officers at their voting stations so that they can be ushered to the front of the queue.

“Voters are advised to take extra precautionary measures to protect themselves as the country is currently experiencing the annual influenza (flu) season. Preventative measures such as wearing of masks, hand washing with an alcohol-based sanitiser or practising social distancing are recommended,’’ she said.

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