The Election Day finally was upon us and from the tone of the day one can be forgiven for thinking that the whole electioneering was much ado about nothing. But alas, that would be the mistake of a presidential term. Much activity was reported in various media – electronic, print and social. The general impression was that the elections were peaceful and went very well despite a few incidents.
A huge stand off was avoided in Katlehong when the contingent of the Democratic Alliance, led by leader Hellen Zille, together with the party’s Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane, nearly clashed with the African Nationa Congress contingent. The ANC contingent was led by Youth League national task team convenor, Mzwandile Masina, who accused Zille’s team for tempting anarchy by visiting the ‘black township’, further labeling Hellen Zille a racist. The confrontation was somehow avoided and the two delegations went about their business.
The claim by Mamphele Ramphele’s AgangSA that ballots at a polling station were not sealed and that an Independant Electoral Commission employee was seen marking ballots for the ANC were rubbished by the the IEC spokeswoman, Kate Bapela. This was shown in a Twitter posting by the party. In response to this accusation, the IEC has advised the leader to take up the matter through the proper channels of the IEC. Speaking for the IEC , Kate Bapela said that in the event that the party had picked up a genuine cause for concern, they were well aware of the proper channels for communicating with the IEC.
Despite an initial concern about safety of the polling process in the strike-torn Mpumalanga town of Marikana, international observers have reported a peaceful voting day in the mining town. Made suddenly popular by the slaying of striking miners by police in August, 2012, Marikana has also been in the news of late because of another long standing strike that is yet to be resolved. It has been so bad that the president had to give it a pass amid security concerns from his party. Only notorious opposition leader, Julius Malema went and spoke to the AMCU-organised striking miners. Voting, according to reports went peacefully and long queues were observed showing the willingness of the miners to exercise their democratic right.