IEC fears for staff's safety in Orange Farm

IEC staff were reportedly victimised by protesters in Orange Farm on Saturday.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) briefed the media about registration activity on day one. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials in Orange Farm say they fear for the safety of local volunteer staff after they were intimidated and victimised by protesting residents yesterday.

While the IEC CEO says voter registration got off to a smooth start, it acknowledges it wasn't smooth sailing at all registration stations.

Disgruntled residents from the Kapok informal settlement in orange farm chased away staff and residents as they demonstrated against concerns about their ward councillor.

Disruptions to the registration process were reported in eight provinces.

The IEC's Masego Sheburi says there will be increased police presence at the Al Tawheed Islamic Centre today, where some Orange Farm residents are expected to register to vote.

Yesterday the centre had to be shut down and residents turned away due to protests by some community members of the Kapok informal settlement.

Sheburi says there are safety concerns for the IEC officials volunteering at the station because they come from the area and fear being victimised when they return home.

"The issue is not whether we can protect them during the course of the day, the issue is when we close the station and they have to go back to the community that was protesting."

Sheburi says volunteers will now be swapped with those from a different station to avoid residents turning on volunteers from their own community.

South Africans have until 5pm this evening to register and to check that their names are on the voters roll.