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IEC: Few incidents reported, overall election went smoothly

Mosotho Moepya said the worsening weather in the EC, KZN, the FS and NC was a problem.

The boards where voting tallies will be displayed at the IEC National Results Centre in Pretoria on 3 August 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG /CAPE TOWN - Chief Electoral Office Mosotho Moepya on Wednesday said there were a few incidents during voting today but overall the local government election had been smooth.

He was addressing the media at the national results operation centre in Pretoria.

Moepya said the worsening weather in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Northern Cape was a problem.

"At least 30 tents have been reported as being significantly affected by the gale force winds and the Indecent Electoral Commission has taken a decision to allow voting station in the worst affected areas to move to nearby permanent structures where feasible."

He also said there was a shooting earlier in the day.

"The IEC received a report before 5pm regarding an alleged shooting near a voting station in Limpopo. This is a municipality housing Vuwani and parts of what was Malamulele."

Moepya said overall, the election had been peaceful and encouraged people to vote if they hadn't already.

"Voting stations will close at 7pm but voting will continue until all voters who are at their voting stations and in the queue as at 7pm have been allowed to vote."

He also said everything went according to plan.

"Voting continues smoothly at voting stations throughout the country. As at 5pm today, all the voting stations were reported as open and all logistical and other challenges which impacted voting earlier had been resolved."

Moepya added the polls had been largely free of any serious incidents.

"The IEC is especially pleased that no significant incidents of unrest or deliberate disputations to voting have been reported."

BUILD-UP OF QUEUES

At the same time, The IEC in the Western Cape said it was monitoring the build-up of queues at some voting stations as the clock ticked down to the 7pm deadline when polls closed.

The African National Congress earlier told Eyewitness News it was worried about slow progress in some township areas such as Khayelitsha and Philippi.

But the IEC's chief electoral officer in the Western Cape, Courtney Sampson, said it would be more worrying if there were no queues.

Sampson gave an assurance that every voter still standing in a queue when polls close would still be allowed to vote.

"We're not going to take too negative a view on queues, I think the more negative view is if there are no queues."

Sampson said long queues were caused by a range of factors, including "IEC staff moving too slowly", many voters turning up all at the same time and cramped venues.

"It's a combination of things that creates that, but it's nothing out of the ordinary, it happens at each election."

Sampson said patience and cool heads were important to ensure that those who wanted to are able to cast their votes.