South Africa: KZN's Troubles Spillover Into Elections - Six Arrested, Voting Stations Closed Due to Protests

Left: Service delivery protest. RIght: Voter's thumb marked after casting a ballot.

Scores of voters in parts of KwaZulu-Natal have still not been able to cast their ballots as the province emerged as one of the most troublesome on Wednesday, numerous protests disrupting voting.

Four voting stations remained closed by the afternoon in Bergville due to protests with five people arrested in the area, said police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker.

He said another protester was arrested in Ntuzuma.

Naicker said residents showed a blatant disrespect for election processes by blockading several roads, restricting access to voting stations.

Many of the protests emerged in the early hours of Wednesday, he said.

He said police were now focusing on maintaining order this afternoon. Voting closes at 21:00.

"We are gearing up for the afternoon session. From our previous experience, we know that people drink during the day and become disorderly at voting stations during the afternoon," said Naicker.

14 of 17 closed stations in KZN

KZN acting provincial election officer Ntombifuthi Masinga said while the majority of voting stations were opened in the province, at least 80 in eThekwini had been temporarily closed on Wednesday morning due to service delivery protests.

She said voting stations affected included Umbumbulu, Adams and Folweni.

Masinga said trenches were dug up on roads leading to voting stations in Estcourt, Bergville and Masinga.

The trenches were filled by police and KZN department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs officials.

Masinga said protesters in the Mdoni municipality allegedly used the same modus operandi as those in Estcourt and Bergville, affecting three voting stations in the Okhahlamba district.

She said a special team of Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) officials and police had been sent to the area.

By late morning Masinga said that 14 of the 17 voting stations that remained unopened throughout SA were in KZN.

Majority of the voting stations were located on the southern coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

"The Electoral Commission is working closely with security agencies supported by government departments to open these stations as soon as possible and safe for voters and election staff."

Source: News24

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