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IEC deploys managers to problem areas

Frustrated voters in Johannesburg and Pretoria have complained about issues including missing voters' rolls.

Voting has already begun in Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg, with people waiting in long queues on 3 August 2016. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says area managers have been deployed to various polling stations where problems have been reported that are preventing voting from getting underway.

Some frustrated voters in Johannesburg and Pretoria have complained about issues including a lack of voters' rolls, ballot papers and scanners.

"I'm in Roodepoort and the ballot boxes only arrive now and there are so many old people in wheelchairs and stuff in this cold weather," a voter said.

Another added: "The voters' rolls were very late and we've been waiting on this long queue since early morning."

The IEC's electoral commissioner for Gauteng, Masego Sheburi says voting should start in affected areas soon, and problems like a shortage of scanners shouldn't affect the process.

"What the presiding officers are trying to do, if a scanner for some reasons it doesn't work, it should not stop the voting process because we've the hardcopy of the voters roll. Where we've received reports of missing voters' rolls, we've dispersed our area manager to disperse those voters' rolls."

MINOR HICCUPS

Months of electioneering and preparations are being put to the test.

Speaking at the National Results Centre in Pretoria yesterday, IEC chairperson, Glen Mashinini, said the commission has done everything it possibly can to ensure the process goes off without a hitch.

"All preparations necessary for the upcoming elections are in place for free, fair, peaceful 2016 municipal elections."

Gallery: #Elections 2016 through your eyes

But a voter in Stellenbosch has complained about ballot papers.

"We started voting here in Stellenbosch in one of the wards but after about 30 more people voted we realised that we had wrong ballot papers. The whole office just basically shutdown, and stopped taking in people. I'm not sure what happened to those votes, maybe they're going to be spoiled."

The commission's Courtney Sampson says all problems will be addressed quickly.

"We want to make sure that nobody is denied to vote because of that. It's a printer problem, they have put the wrong sticker on the ballots. So it should be easier for us to manage that particular process."

There are reports of voting stations in some areas including Hammanskraal in Pretoria and parts of Bloemfontein opening late.

WE'RE NOT HERE TO MODEL

Voting appeared to start a few minutes after seven at the country's biggest polling station in Joubert Park in central Johannesburg.

Just under ten thousand voters are registered in the district.

Some voters were annoyed when 7am came and the queue didn't move and one voter said this was taking too much of their time.

"We're not here to model you know. They should have sorted this thing out long time ago. Prearrangement, our government must understand the power of prearrangement."

But the presiding officer says the tent was ready to go.

"The voters just wanted to be sure that they're going into the correct voters roll section but we did open on time. We came as early as 5am, so we were all organised in terms of personnel."

NORTH WEST GOING SMOOTH THUS FAR

Meanwhile, it's been a smooth start at most voting stations in the North West so far this morning.

The Oukasie community hall is the biggest voting stations here in the North West township with over 3,000 thousand people expected to cast their ballots.

The voting station has seen numerous young people come to vote this morning. One first time voter says it's been an overwhelming experience to make her mark for the first time.

Two police officers are standing outside the polling station as members of the public continue to make their way into the venue.

Oukasie falls under the Madibeng Municipality which has been in the spotlight for persistent water shortages in recent years.

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