Khutsong blanketed by police

Khutsong community stalwart Jomo Mogale on Wednesday called for a by-election in the troubled township where residents are boycotting the local government poll.

He said the few voters who had trickled in to cast their ballots were mainly candidate councillors themselves.

Mogale called on people to have a quiet day and not to intimidate anyone.

”I am a footballer and later I shall be playing at the Khutsong stadium.”

Asked for what team, he said: ”The community.”

Shortly before 10am, a pocket of marchers began singing and toyi-toying, breaking the calm of the morning.

Gauteng police confirmed 25 people had been arrested overnight for throwing stones at police and other vehicles, as well as at polling stations.

They were in custody and scheduled to appear in court within 48 hours, said Senior Superintendent Mary Martins Engelbrecht.

Merafong municipality’s mayor Des van Rooyen was among a handful of voters who cast their ballots in Khutsong, outside Carletonville, on Wednesday morning.

Van Rooyen is resented by residents opposed to the transfer of the municipality from Gauteng to the North West province.

They have vowed to boycott the local government election which started at 7am.

As the sun came out on Wednesday morning, a white lorry, escorted by an armoured police car, toured the polling stations delivering portable toilets.

On Tuesday, some residents said they feared their houses would be torched if they were seen casting ballots at the 18 polling stations in the area.

In the past month, a number of councillors’ houses have been razed in the protest over the provincial demarcation issue.

By mid-morning, Khutsong was calm amid a heavy police presence. Residents were largely ignoring polling stations.

Media waits for Mandela

Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni stood in the queue chatting to voters at the Transvaal Automobile Club in Houghton, Johannesburg on Wednesday while the station waited for the arrival of former president Nelson Mandela.

”It is my responsibility to vote. We have to fulfil this responsibility,” Mboweni said.

Mboweni said he planned to go home and spend the rest of the day reading newspapers after he had voted.

Meanwhile, a large media contingent waited for Mandela, the country’s first democratically elected president.

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Brigalia Bam said 97% of polling stations had opened on time throughout the country.

There had been some difficulties: in Mpumalanga a helicopter had to help in a flood-stricken; area and in Soweto two tents collapsed.

Registration problems in Thaba Tshwane

An angry Hennie van der Berg lashed out at IEC officials who turned him away from the voting station at Thaba Tshwane, outside Pretoria, but could not tell him where he should vote.

”These people do not know what they are doing, they are totally incompetent,” he said.

The Paratus Primary School hall voting station in the military-controlled area was not Van der Berg’s first stop.

”I went to Valhalla where I voted in 2004, but they said I was not registered there even though my wife was registered there and could vote there.”

A former military man, Van der Berg said he then went to Thaba Tshwane, but found he was not registered there either.

He was determined to vote and was planning to call a candidate in the area to help him finding the right voting station.

Nobhule Ndongeni could not vote at Thaba Tshwane either.

Hailing from the Eastern Cape she thought she would ”take a chance” even though she knew people could cast their ballots only where they were registered.

SA navy chief petty officer Zakhe Majoz did get a chance to vote.

Previously deployed in Burundi as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force, he was happy he could vote — unlike the 3 000 soldiers still deployed outside South Africa.

”It would be good if next time the IEC would allow people to vote wherever they are,” he said.

Another military man, Martin Coetzee, said while Thaba Tshwane was a military area it was still the municipality’s duty to look after roads and other infrastructure.

”This is why I came voting,” he said. – Sapa

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Duncan Guy
I write jokes, play hockey, raise my son & cast tv shows. Boston guy surviving Los Angeles. I love comedy, hockey, politics, UFC & all the guac. Duncan Guy has over 1990 followers on Twitter.

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