Gone with the wind was a recurring theme on election day – at the coast the blast, classed as a fresh gale (70km/h), affected voting station tents, which also leaked in the rain.
With two to four police officials at each voting station, no serious issues were reported.
The Summerstrand Cheshire Home and Mount Pleasant were among voting stations that had problems with temporary tents.
By midday only 1 000 of the 6 000 voters registered in the area had voted at the Cheshire Home.
Because of the tent – “unstable in the strong wind” – presiding officer Lebo Mjijwa said his team had to divert people into a voting station inside the building.
Barista Zeus Gqabu, of Mastertons Coffee, which had a caravan outside the voting station, said more than 200 cups of coffee had been sold by 3pm.
In Mount Pleasant, a tent started leaking. Party officials and residents helped by cabletying tarpaulins down and fastening poles.
Mount Pleasant presiding officer Bukeka Matinise said the leaks were fixed by 11am but the tent still had no electricity.
By midday, 1 500 of the 5 000-odd voters registered in the area had voted.
Seaview resident Bernice Strever, who voted at Elukholweni farm school, had a problem as her ID was stolen a few weeks ago.
“Home Affairs was short-staffed, but I finally got my ID. I could have let it be, but this country and city need my vote,” she said.
At the Buffelsfontein voting station, the queue was about 700 long by midday.
“It has been very busy and many people are unhappy about the cold and wet weather,” presiding officer Zolile Dayimani said.
Voter Dean Maree said he had stood in the cold for about two hours. “It is something that has to be done and it was not that bad.”
At the Forest Hill polling station, several voters complained that they were unable to vote as they were not registered in that area.
Presiding officer Vusi Nyimbinya said: “We had to redirect them and some people became aggressive.”
The queues at Walmer Town Hall were not long, with voting going smoothly all day.
By 12.30pm, Settlers Park Primary School was halfway through its voters’ roll of 1 800.
At Lower Walmer Primary, voting got off on a sour note with voters and officials bickering over why officials got to vote first.
The ANC has managed to keep control over the hotly contested Ward 41 – Joe Slovo township and Khayamnandi – beating independent candidate Mbongeni Bungane.
Bungane, who was the ANC’s councillor for Ward 41 prior to yesterday’s local government elections, made a go for it on his own after he lost out during the process of nominating councillor candidates.
Bungane confirmed this morning that the ANC had won.
ANC regional task team coordinator Bheza Ntshona said the ANC won by a big margin, although the exact figures are still unknown at this stage.
“People are showing confidence back in the ANC again,” Ntshona said.
Many unaware their man had not made it onto ballot list
Confusion and a general sense of disappointment was the feeling among some Ward 43, KwaNobuhle, voters when they realised that their beloved ANC was not on the ward ballot paper yesterday.
Although it had been widely reported on in the weeks leading up to the municipal elections, residents were still shocked to discover that an ANC candidate was missing from the ballot paper.
Sipho Makwa, 71, who has been a staunch ANC supporter since the struggle days, said he had felt sad when he could not find a candidate for the ANC on the ballot.
“I thought the IEC had made a mistake and even went to them to check, but it turned out my party did not have a candidate,” he said.
Makwa said he still believed in the ANC.
Not one to let his vote go to waste, because he believed voting was important, he still cast his vote for – “the next best thing”.
Mzwandile Festile, 66, said he too was confused because he had had no idea that the ANC was not contesting Ward 43.
“I really don’t understand what happened with the ANC,” he said.
“Where is our candidate? Where is our councillor? Who will be our councillor now?”
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Conflicting reports are coming from the UDM and ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay about the outcome of the vote for the coveted Ward 30 (Veeplaas and KwaMagxaki).
The UDM, which won the traditionally-ANC ward from the ruling party during a by-election in August last year, claims the ANC does not want to accept that it has clinched a majority vote at two of the four voting stations.
The ANC, on the other hand, blames the UDM for refusing to accept that the ANC has reclaimed control over the ward.
The stalemate has resulted in several re-counts of two of the voting stations.
UDM mayoral candidate Mongameli Bobani said the ANC had already won two of the voting districts – the same two it won during the by-election.
However, the remaining two – which tipped the scale for the UDM last year – are the ones in dispute, Bobani said.
“The numbers are not tallying with the ballot papers. There are more ballot papers than the number of people who voted.
“The two VDs [voting districts] have been re-counted about 10 times because the ANC does not want to accept that the UDM has more voters.
“It’s a stalemate,” Bobani said.
The ANC’s regional task team coordinator Bheza Ntshona, on the other hand, said the total results for Ward 30 had already been tallied and the ANC had come out on top.
“We have won Ward 30. It’s the UDM that doesn’t want to accept that we have taken back the ward,” Ntshona said.
The Electoral Commission has not yet released results for Ward 30.
They came out in their thousands, standing for hours in long, snaking queues to cast their ballots to decide the fate of Nelson Mandela Bay for the next five years.
The rain and cold were no deterrent for the majority of the metro’s voters, who were determined to make their mark.
With the city on a knife’s edge, people streamed into voting stations across the metro from as early as 4am and, in some parts, voting continued well into the evening.
While the IEC would not announce the overall voter turnout for the city, early indications from several stations showed it was significant.
Political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana said the turnout would be a key decider on whether or not the ANC would hold on to power.
Vying to take over the reins at City Hall, DA mayoral candidate Athol Trollip said late yesterday his party was in for a long, anxious wait.
“It is probably going to be an all-nighter for me, but we are confident that we have done enough to claim a victory,” he said.
“I could not get to all of the voting stations, but we do believe there was low voter turnout in general.
“The weather, with the rain and the wind, did have a big impact and kept many voters away.”
His rival, Danny Jordaan – punted as the ANC’s last hope at retaining power in the metro – was upbeat as he drove into the Portuguese Club in Summerstrand in the morning.
Flanked by his daughter, Luana, Jordaan was confronted by a large media contingent, who questioned him on reports that he had hired top lawyers to defend him in the Fifa World Cup bribery scandal.
A visibly agitated Jordaan dismissed the allegations as an apartheid-style campaign against him by the DA and the media, and insisted no charges had been brought before him.
Incidentally, a federal judge overseeing the global corruption case involving Fifa said at a hearing in New York that a trial could begin in September or October next year.
Jordaan predicted the ANC would walk away with 55% of the vote.
“We have seen an upsurge in [support in] some areas,” he said, referring to the northern areas.
Later in the evening, he said he was pleased to see a great turnout of voters despite the terrible weather.
However, he said the IEC needed to provide better voting infrastructure.
“Today was very cold and wet, but despite that people wanted to vote. They were in good spirits,” he said.
“But it’s been tough for them because some of the conditions were, frankly, just not up to scratch.
“In some areas, of course, it was smooth and wonderful and people were joyous, but those were the better areas of this metro.
“It is in the poorer areas where the infrastructure of the IEC seems to match the poverty of the people.”
The UDM’s Mongameli Bobani, whose party was touted this week to be in secret coalition talks with the DA and the ANC, said he was already “polishing his mayoral acceptance speech”.
A firm favourite among some voters in the Veeplaas, KwaMagxaki area (Ward 30), Bobani said there had been a few voting glitches as a result of the cold weather.
Tents in several areas had collapsed because of the strong winds and, he claimed, some ballot boxes had been opened in the KwaMagxaki High School “due to special votes”.
“The IEC has been on top of its game so far and we’re happy,” he said.
“We obviously expected the dirty tricks from the ANC as we received . . . complaints about them putting ANC stickers in voters’ IDs in Ward 27.”
He said he had laid a complaint with the IEC.
Notoriously animated, Bobani said he could not wait to be officially announced as the mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, adding that, at 8am, he would go to the city manager to ask for the keys to his new office.
The United Front, once punted as a potential game-changer in these polls, because of its Numsa footprint, made a poor showing yesterday.
Its volunteers and party colours were not visible near any of the voting stations across the Bay.
But the man at the top of its candidate list, Zanoxolo Wayile, claimed this had been tactical.
“There was no mass programme planned,” he said.
“We were operating from the command operation centre, where we were interfacing with different wards and clusters.
“So it was a matter of tactics, which we cannot divulge.
“We may not be in power, but we are in power in terms of the working class – it’s not just about the ballot paper.
“We are not stressed or panicking.”
Wayile said the turnout at voting stations had been unsatisfactory, which he believed was either the result of the cold weather or voter disillusionment.
EFF regional secretary Zilindile Vena said the weather had been a challenge, but residents had still come out in their numbers.
“We hope the numbers will make an impact,” Vena said.
“We saw all the people we had seen on our door-to-door campaigns coming to vote.
“In Ward 36 [Westville], there were IEC helpers who were interpreting the law.
“Anyone can be accompanied by anyone to vote, but should not let that person cast their vote for them.”
Eastern Cape IEC electoral officer Thami Mraji said Nelson Mandela Bay had experienced a few incidents related to the weather. “The weather was the only issue
I received reports about the rain and the wind in Nelson Mandela Bay
to the extent that I asked the [national electoral] commissioner to move tents [stations] to more permanent structures,” he said.
“Apart from the tents being blown away, there were also some stations with long queues outside.”
However, EFF chairman Dali Mpofu claimed ANC members had put stickers on voters’ ID books, which he said he had reported to the IEC.
The IEC did not respond later to a request for comment.
SA Weather Service spokesman Garth Sampson said the temperature had risen to a maximum of 16°C, while the wind had gusted at more than 88km/h.
“With the strong winds blowing for most of the day around the city, the wind-chill factor was quite high, meaning the temperatures we felt were much lower than the actual figures we measured,” he said.
Jobs were the main issue for Kouga voters yesterday, with many saying this was something the winning party would have to make a priority.
Voting was brisk in the hotly contested municipality, where the outgoing ANC council had only one seat more than the DA.
In the 2011 municipal elections, the ANC won 49% of the votes and the DA 48%.
The rest was shared by three independent candidates.
The DA’s mayoral candidate is MP Elza van Lingen.
The ANC has not named its candidate yet.
IEC presiding officers lauded the good voter turnout.
Outside the voting stations, party volunteers and supporters sang and displayed posters of their candidates.
Some people sat around fires to keep warm.
Although the battle was mainly between the ANC and DA in most of the wards, Ward 7’s independent candidate, Vusumzi Menge, had overwhelming support.
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Minimal reports of violence, but some voters fearful of intimidation
A police vehicle crashing into a pedestrian while pursuing someone who disrupted voting, a letter threatening voters in Nkandla, gale-force winds flattening 30 election tents and attempts to petrol-bomb a voting station were just some of the incidents that coloured yesterday’s polling.
But they were the exception as millions voted in what has been called the most hotly contested election since 1994.
All political parties expressed satisfaction with how the Electoral Commission (IEC) ran the elections. The first results began trickling in at 9pm.
With nearly 25 000 votes counted, new contenders the EFF have started to feature, although the ANC is dominant so far.
“It’s early days, but trust me‚ it’s gonna be epic. Stay tuned‚ watch democracy in action. Great time to be alive‚” Sports Minister Fikile Mbabula tweeted.
Analysts say the ANC is facing the toughest electoral challenge in its history against a backdrop of high unemployment, an economy not expected to grow this year and a series of scandals that have dogged President Jacob Zuma.
Opinion polls predict a particularly close race in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay.
There were three deaths during polling – in Ingwe Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal; in Struisbaai, Western Cape; and in Strydenburg, Northern Cape. All appeared to be due to natural causes.
Reports of violence were minimal, even though the police had identified 650 voting hot spots.
About 5 000 residents of Tlokwe Municipality in Potchefstroom awoke with many not knowing they had been registered to vote in Ventersdorp, 60km away.
They had, they said, been reassigned to the Ventersdorp voting district without their knowledge after the merging of their local municipality with Ventersdorp.
Though the IEC appears to have told Tlokwe residents of their reassignment, a lawyer for independent candidates contesting the municipal elections in Tlokwe, Hans-Jurie Moolman, yesterday said the information had come through only 1½ weeks before the elections.
Residents of Vuwani, in Limpopo, appeared to have snubbed the polls, opting instead to watch soccer in Vyeboom.
Some residents reported feeling intimidated by youngsters lurking outside polling stations to identify “traitors”.
At least four voting stations had confirmed zero voter turnout by noon.
Low turnout led to several stations closing before the 7pm cut-off.
The ANC candidate in Vuwani’s Ward 14, Mpho Mathoma, blamed the poor turnout on intimidation.
In an incident in Malamulele, a woman was injured after a policeman lost control of a vehicle while pursuing a man suspected of stealing a police service pistol during an altercation at a polling station.
The gun was recovered and three people were arrested.
In East London, 200 Cambridge township residents marched on a voting station, threatening to petrol-bomb it.
Police used stun grenades to disperse them. Seven people were arrested and charged with public violence.
Electoral officials encountered padlocks stuffed with matchsticks, locked schools and blockaded roads in some areas of KwaZulu-Natal.
In Nkandla, the ANC complained to the IEC about a handwritten letter threatening people who voted.
Gale-force winds in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Northern Cape forced the IEC to look for alternative venues after tents were flattened.
Tshwane, where political violence left five dead last month, was calm.
Police were deployed across the city in armoured vehicles and helicopters, with roving tactical units on standby.
Last month, roadblocks were set up in the Tshwane townships of Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Hammanskraal and Soshanguve.
Residents were voicing their anger at the ANC’s choice of Thoko Didiza as its mayoral candidate.
Didiza was nominated to succeed Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
“Our protests haven’t worked. They were ignored, so now we are coming to the [voting] booth to show that we cannot be ignored,” Mamelodi resident Daniel Khoza said.
“We protest and protest, but still we don’t have proper schools, transport, no jobs, with those who do have work all having relatives working in the municipality.
“Will I vote the same as I have before? Definitely not,” he said.
Political analyst Zamikhaya Maseti said he expected a high voter turnout.
A low turnout, he said, would be bad news for the ANC because it could swing votes to smaller parties.
“But my other take is that the ANC will still win, though with a very small margin in these highly contested municipalities such as Nelson Mandela Bay, Joburg and Tshwane,” he said.
Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib said the performance of the ANC would determine the fate of Zuma, who might have to stand down if the ANC fared poorly.
IEC chief executive Mosotho Moepya said a presiding officer at a voting station in the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality in Mthatha had been dismissed after allowing three voters to vote without IDs.
Other IEC officials in Folweni, KwaZuluNatal, were also shown the door for unspecified irregularities.
Political party discussions about coalition governments were expected to be formalised once results were announced. – Additional reporting by Reuters
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The DA has retained Helenvale’s highly contested Ward 13, the Electoral Commission has confirmed.
The results from some Nelson Mandela Bay voting stations are in, with almost 4% of the votes tallied. The DA is currently in the lead with 57.27% with the ANC second with 33.23% of the votes. The EFF has received 3.49%.
The first results revealed in the Bay showed the DA winning the Kruisrivier voting station in Uitenhage by 197 votes to the ANC’s 49.
The voting station at the Chetty Senior Secondary School was won by the DA, who took 86.03% of the vote.
The ANC celebrated its first success when it won the Amanzi School voting station in ward 53 with 72.96% of the votes.
The Khaymnandi extension tent voting station in ward 29 went to the ANC who took 75% of the vote.
The DA got 81,55% of the vote at the McCarthy School in ward 48.
Voters at the Blue Horizon Bay voting station gave the DA a 94.4% win.
The ANC conquered the Ngene Road voting station in New Brighton’s ward 18 with 79.34% to the UDM’s 7.99% and the EFF’s 7.88%.
Those voting at the Friendly City Dog Club gave the win to the DA who took 92.02%.
Mabandla Pre-school voters in ward 45 voted for the ANC, who got 65.43% down from 78.98% last year. The EFF did not contest that ward in 2011 and took 21.75% this year.
Voters at the Hillcrest Primary school in ward 13 voted 74.18% for the DA and 20.42% for the ANC.
Votes from the temporary station in Moutuma Street in Kwazakhele took the ANC to victory with 65.50% of the vote and the EFF took 10.67%.
With 20% of voting districts reported‚ Makana municipality has swung towards to the Democratic Alliance with 52.3% of the vote against 45% for the African National Congress.
The EFF has 1.7% so far.
The Grahamstown municipality has been plagued by a dodgy water supply and a range of service delivery complaints.
Problems cited in the run-up to Wednesday’s municipal election included slow housing delivery‚ eradicating the bucket toilet system‚ poor infrastructure and a lack of job opportunities.
The DA had roped in party leader Mmusi Maimane to campaign in the area ahead of the vote.
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