Extra police brought in as Soweto ballot papers stolen
HOPES of a peaceful election day after multiple killings of councillor candidates – viewed as a symptom of vicious factional divides within the ANC – got a boost this week when Police Minister Nathi Nhleko promised 100 000 police would be deployed.
A total of 50 000 of the police officers would be at voting stations, after the murders of at least 20 candidates, 14 from the ANC, in the run-up to the elections.
Over the weekend, the Independent Electoral Commis- sion will move voting materials from provincial warehouses to municipalities for distribution to 22 612 voting stations, including a record 73.9 million ballot papers, along with ballot boxes and voting booths, in its biggest logistical operation to date.
But security of the process has already been called into question, with the confirmed theft of ballot papers en route to voting stations in Soweto yesterday.
The DA immediately called for the missing ballot papers to be invalidated and for increased police protection of the papers.
Special votes and home visits will take place on Monday and Tuesday, before the big day on Wednesday.
The ANC, traditionally a strong finisher in the final weeks of a campaign, will be hoping to fill the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg at its closing rally tomorrow.
However, it enters these elections more divided than ever, with questions around the party’s ability to mobilise its forces for the final push that has usually helped it defy pre-election polling results.
The battle for the City of Johannesburg will reach its dramatic conclusion this weekend, as both the ANC and DA pull out one final show of force.
The DA will throw down the gauntlet to the ruling party in its stronghold of Soweto this morning, before the ANC’s own Siyan- qoba rally tomorrow at Ellis Park stadium. The two events, as well as the EFF’s final rally in Limpopo tomorrow, mark the culmination of a bitter battle for the hearts and minds of black voters in particular.
Analysts agree the ground has shifted dramatically in these elections as the ANC feels the pressure of the previously unthinkable possibility of defeat in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro and taking a huge knock in Johannesburg and Tshwane.
That the ANC, and especially President Jacob Zuma, has for the
first time singled out the DA for attack was a sign the governing party was feeling the heat, analysts said.
In previous campaigns it’s been no-go territory for the ANC to acknowledge the presence of opposition parties by name, because it’s always been, almost electioneering by itself, in its own cocoon, said Professor Susan Booysen, of Wits University Graduate School of Public and Development Management.
“There is no more solid indication of the ANC being really worried than the ANC coming out and talking specifically about the DA,” she said.
Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said that the DA had consciously gone after black voters, who the ANC previously took for granted as belonging to the ruling party, was resulting in “a kind of panic”.
The EFF, which has focused its campaign on promises of better housing, service delivery and jobs, white privilege and Zuma as an ANC weakness, will hold its final rally in Limpopo – home province of its leader Julius Malema. email@example.com