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IEC says despite some turbulence on day one, it was a good first day of special votes

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IEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Masego Sheburi said even with the best planning, challenges were experienced in the area of Mthatha and in Port Shepstone.

Deputy Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) Masego Sheburi. File Picture: Itumeleng English / Independent Newspapers

DESPITE some turbulence experienced in parts of Eastern Cape on Monday, the first of two days set aside for special votes across South Africa, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) says voting in the 2024 general elections has started well.

The two days of special votes precede the polling set for Wednesday as South Africans across the country take part in a tightly-contested election to choose public representatives.

IOL reported that Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has appealed to communities to remain calm and not be drawn into unlawful activities, following reports of violence in Mthatha where the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) is deploying additional police backed by the army to quell a violent taxi strike.

In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika on Tuesday morning, IEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Masego Sheburi IEC said despite the problems experienced, the election was not compromised.

Voting stations will open on Tuesday for the second day of special votes. File Picture

“On the whole, the assessment is that we had a good first day of special votes,” said Sheburi.

“Even with our best planning, we had challenges in the area of Mthatha and Port Shepstone. There, we were able to open a total of about 107 voting stations. We have made an assessment overnight, we are increasing staff complements there, particularly to deal with people that we need to visit at homes or places of confinement so that by 5pm today we would have been able to get around to everyone who has applied successfully for a special vote.”

He said the IEC has been assured by the SA Police Service (SAPS) that they will be revising their deployment plans to ensure more boots on the ground ahead of the second and final day of special votes.

Police have increased deployments in provinces where disturbances were noted on the first day of special votes. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

“If those deployment plans hold, we will be able to administer special votes to everyone who has been approved. At 9am, we will start sending SMSes directly to the voters in those affected voting districts to alert them that their voting stations are operational, and that they should expect our teams at home. Those who are approved to vote at voting stations may descend to their voting stations,” said Sheburi.

IOL has reported that police remain on high alert monitoring Mthatha as the area was tense due to the taxi-related incidents which started last week and escalated this week, with many roads including the N2 and the R61 closed with reportedly hijacked trucks.

Several suspects have been arrested.

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane on Monday said he had engaged with the president, ministers of police and defence, asking for intervention.

“Soldiers are being deployed on the ground, to bring law and order. The deployment of the South African (National) Defence Force has also been prioritised to hotspots in the province, including Mthatha,” he said.

IOL

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