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Voting off to slow start in Marikana as handful of people made it to polls in the morning

Lindile Sifile Journalist
FILE IMAGE: A voter gets his thumbnail marked with indelible ink at a voting station in Marikana, North West.
FILE IMAGE: A voter gets his thumbnail marked with indelible ink at a voting station in Marikana, North West.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/ Gallo Images


Voting got off to a slow start in Marikana on Monday morning as a handful of people made it to the polls in the small mining town near Rustenburg in the North West

By 10am, only 148 people had made their mark at Marikana Combined School. IEC presiding officer Aubrey Koloko said they had expected around 5,000 people to cast their votes by the end of the day.

“It’s been very slow and I think it’s because some people opted to go to work first and I'm hopeful they will come to vote in the evening,” said Koloko.

Marikana has always been a contentious area for political parties since the Marikana massacre in 2012. Before the Marikana killings, the ANC and United Democratic Movement (UDM) were the popular political parties, however, things changed when the EFF got involved in the fight for mineworkers’ rights and, in so doing, stole the hearts of some ANC and UDM members.

Police vehicles could be seen at entry points into Marikana. There were no reported disruptions at the five polling stations that Sowetan visited. The shops were bustling, while other people were seen enjoying themselves at shebeens and open spaces.

At the Marikana Testing and Licensing Station only 58 people had voted by 10am despite 888 that had registered to vote there. However, presiding officer, Mamokete Huma was confident the numbers will pick up as the day progressed.

Mineworker Thulani Vuso said he had taken time off from work to cast his vote. “People will come later. There are just busy doing shopping and other thing at work. Voting is important because it is the only way we can ensure that we bring dignity to our townships by putting good leaders that will look after our needs,” said Vus,o who lives in Marikana West.

His township is faced with dire service delivery issues ranging from unreliable water supply to potholed roads.

Only 91 people had voted in NG Kerk in Maditlhokwa by 11am from 1,321 people who had registered to vote.

The situation looked promising at Marikana Primary School as 390 people had voted by 11am, while 5,206 had registered.

Presiding officer Thapelo Pitso said he had not experienced any problems besides having to often warn party agents not to speak with the queuing people. “They know that they can interfere with voters or try to influence them,” said Pitso.

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