The troubled town of Vuwani was the only one in Limpopo under intense police watch on Wednesday‚ with voting proceeding smoothly just about everywhere else in the province.
Voting stations in Vuwani did not open on time and there was no sign voting in the local government elections would start there anytime soon.
Vuwani residents said on Tuesday they would play soccer and have a party on a local field instead of voting on Wednesday in an attempt to stop the government merging parts of their municipality‚ Makhado‚ with that of Malamulele to form a new municipality.
More than 20 schools were torched and vandalised in widespread violence which erupted in and around Vuwani in May after the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) decided on the merger. The redemarcation process is set to continue after the election.
“Traditionally‚ it’s not necessarily wrong for people not to vote‚ but ideally with our new democracy I think those who are not going to vote will be denying themselves an opportunity to be part of the process of strengthening our new democracy‚” Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen said in a visit to Vuwani‚ which can be viewed at.
“So that’s why we are urging all our people in the affected areas to come out in their numbers and do the right thing; elect leaders of their choice‚ leaders who will work with us as we take decisions about their area of influence‚” he said.
“So far we are quite encouraged and excited of all the preparations that we have in place on the ground to make sure that the environment is safe and our people are able to exercise their democratic right‚ and elections are ultimately free and fair.
“So‚ we are very‚ very happy with the preparations that have been done mainly by the security cluster to make sure that the environment is very‚ very safe.”
National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams visited the Mponegele Primary School‚ in Seshego‚ where Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema voted with his grandmother Sarah and wife Mantwa at around noon. Malema attended the school as a child.
“So far I am satisfied with the state of elections at the stations we have visited. We are yet to visit more stations around Limpopo‚” Abrahams said.
Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha cast his vote at Hoërskool Bendor in Polokwane.
Voting got to a slow start in Turfloop‚ where officials were said to have run out of ink.