Drama at Komani voting station as voter turned away due to artificial nail


VIOLATED: Aloevale resident Cynthia van Heerden, left, walks out of Elohim Assembly of God voting station after being barred from voting because of an artificial nail Picture: LUVUYO MJEKULA

Drama ensued at the Elohim Assembly of God voting station in Aloevale this morning as a Komani resident accused the presiding officer of violating her human rights when she barred her from voting because she had an artificial nail on her thumb.

The presiding officer, Phindiwe Zantsi, told Aloevale resident Cynthia van Heerden to remove the nail or have it cut off.

A fuming Van Heerden explained. “I came to vote and I was told to take off my jacket and [the presiding officer] came with a pair of scissors to remove the nail. She is violating my rights as a human being, as a South African.

“I have the right to vote. I want to vote, I woke up early to vote because I am going to East London. To say we cannot put on nails or nail polish and make ourselves look pretty because we are going to vote, that is stupid. I have a right to vote.”

SEETHING: Cynthia van Heerden lashes out at presiding officer Phindiwe Zantsi at the Elohim Assembly of God voting station earlier today Picture: LUVUYO MJEKULA

Police officers at the station had to intervene as the verbal exchange between the two women got out of hand and the presiding officer asked for more police officers to be brought in.

Asked by The Rep reporter what she would next, Van Heerden said: “I don’t know what I am going to do now; I am not going to vote. I wanted to vote for the DA because I wanted to vote for change. My vote is not a secret.”

Zantsi stood her ground. “I am not doing anything as I wish. I am doing things according to legislation. The nail must be natural.” Pointing to an artificial nail on her finger, Zantsi said: “We are the same – I am also not going to vote because I have something on my nail.”

However, after DA ward councillor candidate, Fidelia Malatoe, who had voted despite an artificial nail, and IEC area manager Nomava Mbange intervened, the matter was resolved and Van Heerden was allowed to vote.


She said: “I voted, as you can see, there is my mark. I’m so relieved.”

She praised Mbange for her intervention.

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