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'parties mostly happy with iec'

By unknown | Apr 23, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Political party representatives at the IEC's centre in Pretoria were mostly happy with the progress of voting, despite some glitches.

Political party representatives at the IEC's centre in Pretoria were mostly happy with the progress of voting, despite some glitches.

With most voting stations open by 10am yesterday, many voters had already cast their ballots, while scores of others were in queues waiting to do so.

Parties stationed at the centre were pleased with the IEC's dedication. The ANC said it was "very happy", the DA said it was efficient.

"We are very happy so far, there have been no incident reports and there are very few stations still unopened," said the ANC's Beattie Hofmeyr.

DA councillor Mike Moriarty said: "The vast majority of stations are working properly."

Cope representative Juli Killian said there was an "absolute commitment to impartiality" in the IEC's top structures. However, she said, at times this commitment did not filter down to staff on the ground. "The challenge is to get district voting officials to support that commitment." He said the party had received reports of ANC branding at some polling stations.

UDM general secretary Humphrey Nobongoza said his party had received reports that "ballot papers were flying all around" in Cala in the Eastern Cape.

"The matter is of serious concern, it means there is a lack of control ... it sends a bad signal," he said. Nobongoza, who was watching former president Thabo Mbeki cast his ballot on television, said he was due to meet the IEC at 11am to raise these concerns.

Moriarty said the DA had learned a voter in Britz had received a ballot paper which was already marked with a cross next to the ANC. He said the matter had been reported to police and the party was waiting for a case number. The DA wanted all staff at the station replaced.

"Other than that reports indicate things are going efficiently ... but we are obviously concerned about issues of security, because it means it's possible for people to interfere. We are watching very, very strictly," he said.

Hofmeyr said the ANC had trained 60000 party agents and had 3500 operation centres up and running to keep an eye on the process.

"It seems to be going quite good everywhere ... we are happy to be getting reports of long queues now because the weather may turn bad in some parts of the country, preventing people from going out later," she said.

Killian said while the IEC had excellent systems in place, these could not be relied on unless they were implemented fairly and efficiently on the ground.

Meanwhile, as the SABC reported live from one end of the centre, journalists, security staff and IEC officials went about preparing for the arrival of the first results after the close of voting stations at 9pm. - Sapa


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