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#RegisterToVote: Protesters block voting stations

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Protesters created no-go zones, preventing anyone from registering for upcoming municipal elections and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) from operating at two sites in Kuyisa in Khayelitsha on Saturday.

Khayelitsha was among 17 areas in all nine provinces that were disrupted by protesters on Saturday, according to the IEC.

Khayelitsha protesters complained that Kuyisa in Ward 95 was being incorporated into Makaza in neighbouring Ward 97 and this meant service delivery in their area would go from bad to worse. Some protesters vowed to block voter registration stations again on Sunday.

Western Cape IEC spokesman Trevor Davids said they told staff at the two Kuyisa sites not to work because of safety fears. “We didn’t open at all. We don’t want to open until the situation has calmed down. It wasn’t conducive to open and for voters to come there,” said Davids.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said protesters “were burning tyres and blocking the IEC, preventing people from exercising their constitutional right to register to vote”.

“I advised the DA people not to put up tables,” said De Lille.

Protesters said they were particularly angry because of a library that was supposed to open in Kuyisa but was instead built in Makaza.

Read: Register to have your say

At one of the two closed voting stations in Kuyisa, Ludwe Ngamlana Primary School, Lerato Matee said they would ensure the station remained a no-go zone.

“We will keep it closed. We will fight until we get what we want. We won’t vote if we stay in Ward 97,” said Matee.

“We were peaceful today, but we will become radical at some point if they don’t accommodate our grievances.”

Matee, a member of the SACP and the SA National Civic Organisation, said they “fought so hard for that library, it just had to be built in Makaza”.

Khanyile Dike, who was also protesting, added: “Kuyisa is dead. There’s no development, no playing fields for children. They take everything to Makaza. There’s more crime and gangsterism in Kuyisa than in Makaza.”

De Lille said the library, which is set to open this month, was in the middle of Kuyisa and Makaza and anyone from Khayelitsha could use it. De Lille said demarcation had nothing to do with service delivery and was “just there for logistical purposes to ensure equal numbers of people are in the different wards”.

She said the protesters shouldn’t “try to pull the DA into the ANC’s internal squabbles”.

Protesters blamed Ward 95 ANC councillor Mpucuko Nguzo for allowing Ward 95 to be incorporated into Ward 97. Nguzo did not respond to messages and SMSes on Saturday.

Matee said: “We acknowledge the ANC is the problem here. Instead of protecting us, the ANC is opposing us.”

Another resident, Thembalethu Nyandeni, said: “We want the councillor to work for this place.

“We’re not fighting him. We’re fighting his bad tricks. We want to select our own councillor.”

Protesters accused De Lille of ignoring them and only caring about mobilising DA members to register. “When she saw us, she ran away,” said Dike.

De Lille accused them of “talking absolute rubbish”, saying she didn’t see any protesters. She said when she arrived, four or five people were standing next to a police van and she was told the protesters were toyi-toying around the block.

The IEC’s Kate Bapela said in a media statement that although things went smoothly at most of South Africa’s 22 569 voting stations on Saturday, protests relating to service delivery and demarcation affected voting stations in the following areas:

 

At other voting stations visited by Weekend Argus on Saturday, registration was peaceful.

ANC supporter Nokuphiwa Tshotsha was one of 20 people who had registered at the False Bay Technical Vocational Education and Training College in Khayelitsha by noon on Saturday.

Tshotsha said she was happy with service delivery in her area, Indlovini, which had a constant flow of electricity and water and the “garbage is collected on time”.

Another resident, Leroala Seqheke, said there was no service delivery in the area and highlighted a lack of decent housing. He said he never saw councillors.

[Source: Weekend Argus/IOL]
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