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#Elections2014: Voting station torched

Three voting stations were torched in Bekkersdal overnight during protests that erupted.

Three voting stations were torched in Bekkersdal overnight during protests that erupted. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

VOTER INTIMIDATION

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Western Cape has reiterated voter intimidation will not be tolerated.

More than 2 million voters in the province are expected to cast their ballots throughout the course of the day.

The commission's provincial head Courtney Sampson said, "We are

committed to ensuring that there should be an environment where people

are able to exercise their political choice as freely as they possibly

can. Intimidation and activities of provocation and taunting are

probably going to be the order of the day."BEKKERSDAL - After months of preparations and fierce campaigning by political parties, South Africans will start casting their ballots in the 2014 elections.

But the polls have already been marred by sporadic incidents of violence.

At least three voting stations have been torched in Bekkersdal overnight during protests that erupted.

Few people arrived early to get ready to cast their votes in Bekkersdal, east of Johannesburg on 7 May 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) tents near the west rand's taxi rank were burned down by a large group of young people who started demonstrating after a community meeting, prompting police and the army to intervene.

Bekkersdal has been declared a high risk area by the security cluster.

South African National Defence Force cars were deployed to patrol the street of Bekkersdal ahead of the election. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

Charred pieces of the IEC tent that would have been used as a voting station are scattered across the field near a taxi rank following violence last night.

On the outskirts of the township police are preparing to move back into the area with the army.

Video: Bekkersdal residents angry.

It's unclear how many people were arrested after the group went on the rampage by burning tyres and throwing rocks at the police.

A small group of residents have already started gathering singing songs in support of the ANC and waiting to cast their ballots.

ANC conducts a motorcade through the streets of Bekkersdal on 6 May 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

GUGULETHU RESIDENT NOT VOTING

Another problem area being closely watched is the Gugulethu informal settlement on the East Rand.

This week residents, protesting against a lack of basic services, went on the rampage torching an IEC tent and disrupting special voting.

Angry residents of Gugulethu torched a building belonging to the Community Policing Forum. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

A total of 46 people were arrested for public violence.

A resident said the community will stay away from voting today because the government has ignored them.

"The government is ignorant towards us, they have promised to build houses and that hasn't happened."

Angry Gugulethu residents on Johannesburg's East Rand protests ahead of the polls on May 7. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

Earlier in the week, residents rendered the informal settlement a no go area for IEC officials, but Ekurhuleni member of the mayor's committee for community safety, Mthuthuzeli Siboza, said lawlessness will not be tolerated.

"Elections have to continue and the police will do what they have to do."

Scores of police officers have setup permanent base and will be monitoring the situation.

Angry residents of the Gugulethu during a violent protest in the area on 5 May 2014. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

It's still unclear when IEC officials will be able to set up polling stations after their tent was torched down on Monday.

VOTER INTIMIDATION

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Western Cape has reiterated voter intimidation will not be tolerated.

More than 2 million voters in the province are expected to cast their ballots throughout the course of the day.

The commission's provincial head Courtney Sampson said, "We are committed to ensuring that there should be an environment where people are able to exercise their political choice as freely as they possibly can. Intimidation and activities of provocation and taunting are probably going to be the order of the day."

For the latest from #Elections2014 follow EWN's live blog.

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