Voters stay away in Bronkhorstspruit

The area has been the site of violent service delivery protests this week.

A municipal building and satellite police station was torched by angry protesters in Bronkhorstspruit during violent service delivery protests. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Voter registration stations opened on time in various townships in Bronkhorstspruit this morning but IEC officials say they have not registered a single person so far all morning.

They say residents were told not to register.

President Jacob Zuma announced yesterday that the elections will take place on 7 May.

He made the announcement as the country prepares for the final voter registration drive this weekend.

The area has been the site of violent protests this week over poor service delivery.

Residents from three major townships, Rethabiseng, Zithobeni and Nkangala began the demonstration earlier this week over what they're calling exorbitant water and electricity tariffs.

They also say they've gone without these services for up to a month now.

Protesters torched a police station, library, municipal office and clinic in the area.

A total of 39 people were arrested by police and charged with vandalising state property.

On Wednesday night, protesters took to the streets again and burnt Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) voter registration posters with some saying they won't vote in the upcoming elections because government doesn't care about them.

Several roads surrounding Sebokeng are still blocked with rubble, evidence of the fierce demonstrations earlier this week.

Residents had vowed not to allow IEC officials into the area.

Protesters are demanding basic services and RDP houses, which they say were promised to them by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

But an elderly woman says she is satisfied with services and has called on the youth to refrain from violence and rather register to vote in the elections.

A 26-year-old protester was shot dead on Wednesday during a scuffle between rival groups and police in the informal settlement in southern Johannesburg.

Lerata Rabodile, who was shot dead during the protests in Sebokeng. Picture: Supplied.

Another man was shot and wounded in the scuffle.

He was rushed to hospital.

The family is blaming the ANC for his death while the party has launched an investigation to establish whether one of its members was involved in the shooting.


Meanwhile, a community member in Sir Lowry's Pass Village near Somerset West believes the needs of the poor are not being respected by government.

Chaos erupted in the area on Thursday as some residents took to the streets in violent protest action over housing.

Two people were arrested in connection with the protest.

Some protesters attacked a photographer and made off with some of his equipment.

Disgruntled residents believe they have been forgotten by the country's leadership.

One resident says he has been living in severe poverty while waiting to receive a new home.

"We live worse than pigs."

His comments come in the wake of Western Cape premier Helen Zille hitting the campaign trail in Paarl calling for communities to support her party.