Fewer KZN protests allow for smooth special voting

The second day of special voting has gone ahead in KwaZulu-Natal without any of the delays which marred the first day of special voting for the the 2019 national and provincial elections.

With only one service delivery related protest reported in Durban on Tuesday, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in the province is confident that Wednesday’s elections will go ahead without any disruption.

At a briefing at the KwaZulu-Natal provincial operations centre, deputy provincial elections head Ntombifuthi Masinga said they were “quite happy” with progress in administering the province’s 102 000 special votes. 

A total of 54 700 special votes had been cast on Monday despite late opening of stations in Durban and other centres where service delivery protests had taken place.

Masinga said she was optimistic that the balance of the special votes would be caught up on Tuesday.

With additional South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African National Defence Force personnel being deployed to the province, the IEC and the police were happy that security would be sufficient on election day and that any attempt to disrupt voting would be halted quickly.

While the military would be deployed mainly to guard “key infrastructure” the SAPS would have rapid response units on duty to quickly remove anybody trying to block roads and stop people from voting.

SAPS provincial spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said that while people had a right to protest, police would secure routes being used by people who wanted to go and vote.

The IEC was also confident that moves by provincial government to end the strike by eThekwini municipality workers — which had resulted in a week of violent protests in the city — had prevented any potential disruption of the poll in the city by the strike.

Acting provincial chief electoral officer Mawethu Mosery said that should there be any incidents on Wednesday, “we have a detailed plan with the SAPS and we are confident that we will have a smooth election.’”

Access had been restored to more than 200 roads damaged by the heavy floods that battered Durban and the south coast two weeks ago, while 15 bridges had also been repaired.

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