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Several voter registration stations closed due to protests

IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo says seven voting stations in Katlehong on the East Rand have been closed due to a community protest.

Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says some voter registration stations were unable to open on time and others had to be closed due to ongoing service protests.

Although more than 73,000 election officials were at 22,600 voting stations across the country, the IEC says a handful of stations were forced to close due to a range of incidents.

Affected areas were in Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, North West and Northern Cape.

Saturday marks the first leg of this weekend's registration drive, where members of the public are urged to visit their voting stations in order to update their information or register to vote for the 2019 general elections.

Briefing the media earlier, IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo says seven voting stations in Katlehong on the East Rand have been closed due to a community protest.

“In those areas where we have had to close stations, we’re doing everything within our means to reopen them, either by negotiating with community leaders or using alternative infrastructures such as gazebos.”

Mamabolo says they have opened a case with the police where their stations were vandalised.

“There’s going to be a case in Marikana, QwaQwa, Harrismith as well as in Katlehong. The intention is to reopen those stations at the earliest possible opportunity.”

CAPE TOWN STATIONS

The IEC has confirmed that two Cape Town voting stations were forced to close due to service delivery protests on Saturday.

These voting stations were in Dunoon and Gugulethu.

The IEC’s Courtney Sampson says staff members had to be evacuated for safety reasons.

“We cannot have a situation where people who come to work for us as the IEC on days like this are threatened and where the IEC banners are ripped off.”

He says the IEC will re-open the stations on Sunday should the situation return to normal.

“We have got to inform political parties of the situation, they have been working on the ground to ensure that we can find calm.”

Stations across the country are open from 8 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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