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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

‘Smooth sailing’ in Nelson Mandela Bay, but some issues at other EC voting stations

By midday, some voting stations in the Eastern Cape remained closed due to protests.

Sunny skies and long queues greeted Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) residents who made their way to voting stations on Wednesday to exercise their democratic right in 2024’s hotly contested elections.

Despite some stations being forced to open in the dark due to power outages, the voting experience in the metro has been “smooth sailing” for most of the day.

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This according to Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) municipal electoral officer Dumisani Mbebe, who told The Citizen that it has been a case of “so far, so good” at the 253 operational voting stations in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Nelson Mandela Bay voting experience

“This morning there were a few stations with no water and electricity, but this has been sorted with the support of the municipality,” he said.

“There were also two service delivery protests – one in Westville and one in KwaDwesi – yesterday. Despite these earlier threats of violence, the issues were resolved by this morning.” 

ALSO READ: ‘Every voter will be assisted’: IEC addresses issues experienced at voting stations

Mbebe said he was “very excited” about the increase in registered voters from 500 000 in 2021 to 602 120 for the 2024 elections.

He added that 32 000 of this year’s total are first-time voters.

“Our prayer is that all of them will vote today,” Mbebe said, adding that the majority of the metro’s registered voters are female.

NMB voters want three basic things

A total of 32 voting stations didn’t open on time in the Eastern Cape this morning.

Heidi Vermaak spoke to The Citizen in the snaking queue at the Westbourne Oval voting station in Central, Gqeberha, after it opened late this morning.

“I want to see what everyone wants. Three basic things: Service delivery, jobs and less crime.”

Five Eastern Cape voting stations remain closed

In an update provided by the IEC on operations in the Eastern Cape, it said five voting stations remained closed on Wednesday afternoon.

Provincial electoral officer Kayakazi Magudumana said that voting started at 7am in some of the 4 686 voting stations across the province, but by midday the following remained closed:

  • Nokhatshile SPS in Winnie Madikizela-Mandela municipality,
  • Buhlambo in Ntabankulu,
  • Maggie in Port St Johns,
  • Sidanda in Nyandeni; and
  • Mavundleni in King Sabata Dalindyebo.

ALSO READ: ‘You’re not on the roll!’: IEC scrambles to find UDM leader Bantu Holomisa’s voting station

Protesters prevent IEC from administering voting processes

Magudumana said the communities are not allowing officials to administer voting processes amid protests raging on in these areas.

“I’m appealing to every leader and municipal manager to address these people so that we can do our work.

“Go and address them, so we can do our work,” Magudumana said.

“It is painful to work hard for months and to fail on a matter that could be resolved by talking to our people.”

NOW READ: Eastern Cape elections 2024: What is happening so far on the ground?

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