Local government elections have been running smoothly so far in Chris Hani without major disruption but only challenges with some IEC officials in parts of the region. The Rep went in and around voting stations in Komani – Mlungisi, the Van areas and Ezibeleni – where the majority of the people seemed content with how the elections were proceeding.
Queen’s College Junior was one of the busiest voting stations where Top Town residents came in numbers. Ward 10 councillor and candidate Tokkie Deysel said the masses began queuing outside the voting station from 6.30am. Deysel said: “I have not seen people coming in such big numbers for a very long time. It is really great to see such public participation. It shows that people want their services improved. A lot of people had registered online successfully.’’ He said there were one or two glitches where people who were registered did not appear on the voters roll but was certain that the IEC would sort it out.
ANC Chris Hani chairman Wongama Gela, who spent most of the day in Cofimvaba, said there was relative peace and stability across the district and that most people were observing the Covid-19 regulations. ‘’The voter turnout was a bit low in the morning, but improved from 3pm in most parts of the district. There are challenges with IEC officials in how they are managing elections. We are raising some of those issues with the IEC to attend to them.” At this stage he said it was too soon to anticipate what the outcome would be, but was confident that the ANC would win the elections. “Our concern right now is to improve the voter turnout. We are making use of the ANC volunteers to urge those who have not voted yet to do so. We are also urging supermarkets to allow workers to go out and vote even if they take turns.”
The Independents’ candidate and Twizza owner Ken Clark, who could not fully predict how the elections would turn out, said he believed it would be a big surprise. He said he and his team managed to secure the votes and those of the proportional representational councillor would assist them a great deal in the end. ‘’The ANC has already admitted that they were going to get less than 50% which says something is not right. If you look at all three top parties – the ANC, DA and the EFF, all of them have their own controversies that surround them. The Independents have got a clean slate. I decided to stand as an independent to join someone else who has baggage.’’ Currently no one will be prepared to invest in this town because it is clear it has gone backwards and we are looking at changing that,’’ Clark said.
At the Ezibeleni community voting station Loyiso Xalisa said they were backing Siya Qwalela as their Independent candidate in ward7. “People are coming out in numbers. It has been a peaceful day so far .The residents are tired of corruption, a lack of transparency and they want change. We admit there is a high employment crisis but we need to close that gap including in service delivery. In the past five year term there was no service delivery, let alone public meetings with the councillor.’’
iSanco’s ward 17 candidate Mncedisi Mbengo said there were about 40 voters queuing at Nonesi voting station in Mlungisi. ‘’Two more independents contesting in this ward along with the EFF and the ANC, they are One for South Africa and The Independents. All of us come from the ANC. My focus is on Bhongweni and Khayelitsha because most of the people who have seen my work are from here which gives me hope. I am not so confident about Westbourne because the people of the area have been experiencing a lot of service delivery issues.’’
DA ward 4 councillor Sakhumzi Mkunqe said the ANC residential members in the ward said they preferred him over their ANC candidate whom they said would inconvenience them in terms of their needs as he was based in the outskirts of Machibini. He said the Independents in his ward would back him with votes as a PR candidate in Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality.
The EFF regional deputy secretary Masibulele Booi who was in Ngcobo said the party had a number of unresolved issues with the IEC which they wanted to be addressed before deeming elections free and fair.