Yesterday saw the first day of the voter registration in preparation for the General elections next year. This report follows the newsworthy happenings around the country.
On Saturday, seven polling stations had to be closed temporarily as violence broke out in the vicinity of these stations. This happened in the West Rand area of Bekkersdal. This has been confirmed by a Gauteng IEC official who added that five stations were still operational and that attempts would be made to reopen those that had been closed.
In a related development, it was reported that Police minister, Nathi Mthethwa, had ordered that all stations in Bekkersdal should close. This was apparently after a man had been stabbed outside one of the stations. This was later refuted by the police ministry who accused the reporter of unprofessional reporting.
Speculations are rife about the cause of the riots but there is a possibility that they may be linked to service delivery protests in which the people in the area also called for the removal of ANC Mayor of the town. At the time, the people had vowed not to let the IEC workers into the town unless the Gauteng MEC, Nomvula Mokonyane who had said that the ANC did not need their ‘dirty votes’, apologized.
In an unrelated occurrence, four men were arrested in the Northern Cape for allegedly burning IEC banners that had been mounted outside polling stations in the area. It is reported that the men, aged between twenty two and forty years of age, burned the banners that were outside Dithakong Tribal Office, Lehuro Primary School and also Omang Primary School. This consequently led to the closure of these station.