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Mossel Bay police on high alert

Hundreds have turned out to vote in by-elections in the area despite tension in the neighbouring township.

The municipal office that was set alight when community members took to the streets on August 12 2014, protesting a lack of electricity in the informal settlement. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

MOSSEL BAY - Hundreds of people have turned out to vote in by-elections in Mossel Bay despite tension in the neighbouring Kwanonqaba township.

Police are on high alert at polling stations following violent service delivery protests in the area.

The protests have been running since Sunday after the municipality cut illegal electricity connections.

Over 20 people have been arrested following extensive damage to municipal buildings.

There's a festive mood outside a Ward 13 polling station as representatives from the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA) and Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (ICOSA) woo potential voters trickling in to cast their ballot.

Over 400 people have voted at the station since doors opened at 7am.

The DA's Piet Pretorius says while the party is happy with the turnout, many of its supporters were intimidated and stayed away.

The ANC's Songezo Mjongile and Icosa's Jeffrey Donson have blamed the DA for the recent unrest.

All three political parties will be present at a community meeting this afternoon to look at ways of addressing service delivery concerns.

LARGE POLICE CONTINGENT DEPLOYED

Police have deployed a large contingent to the area.

Five police Nyalas are parked outside municipal offices in Kwanonqaba.

The evidence of last night's violent protest is clearly visible.

A roof of a building set alight by protesters last night has caved in and several windows are broke.

Rocks and remnants of burned tyres and tree stumps remain scattered on the road leading to the municipal buildings.

The situation is calm but several public order police officers are patrolling the streets on high alert and are prepared for any eventuality.

Pictures by Thomas Holder