Millions of South Africans go to the polls today in the most hotly contested general election since the advent of black majority rule in 1994. Electoral malpractices have been sounded by in KwaZulu-Natal while protests have broken out in parts of the country…
Just over 23 million people are registered as potential voters, and the Independent Electoral Commission, which has printed 53 million national and provincial ballot papers, said this week it expected a massive turnout.
Forty parties, ranging from the A-Party to Ximoko, are contesting the elections, 26 of them nationally.
However, reports this morning as early as 6am said the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal discovered marked ballot papers in Ulundi before the polling stations in the area were officially opened.
“We are shocked to learn that two boxes containing 100 ballot papers, which have already been marked, have been found…,” said ANC spokesperson Nomfundo Mcetywa is quoted saying.
She said the ballot boxes were found at 19B South Hall in Ulundi. The party was certain the papers were not the special votes cast earlier in the week as they were already sealed in envelopes.
She said the ANC had alerted law enforcement agencies and the Independent Electoral Commission.
Meanwhile, a group of about 300 protesters gathered at River Park in Alexandra, Johannesburg before dawn this morning.
Reports say they are all residents of a nearby squatter camp, and embarked on a protest against a lack of housing.
The toyi-toying crowd stood on an embankment on London Road, chanting
“No house, no vote”.
Community leader Thabo Modisan is quoted saying people were not happy
about the election and refused to vote until they got houses.
“We have been waiting since 1994 and we are still living in shacks. We were promised basic services and have not received them, and that is why we are boycotting the election,” he said.
Police, while stationed a distance away, were observing and ensuring that the peaceful protest did not get out of hand.