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Voting in Athlone going smoothly amid gang violence fears

Residents there had raised concerns over walking to polling stations to cast their votes following a spike in gang shootings, some of them deadly.

Voting was moved to the Emfundisweni Pre-Primary School in Nomzamo, in the Western Cape, after the community hall where it was originally scheduled was illegally occupied. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

ATHLONE - Police have been patrolling parts of Athlone on Wednesday as residents queued at voting stations to make their mark.

Earlier this week, Police Minister Bheki Cele assured residents that officers would make their presence felt in 41 hot spots across the Western Cape where the risk of gang or protest-related violence was high.

In the Bokmakierie area, there was a noticeable police presence.

Last week, residents there raised concerns over walking to polling stations to cast their votes following a spike in gang shootings, some of them deadly.

By Wednesday evening, no incidents had been reported.

In nearby Bridgetown Secondary School there was a steady flow of voters trickling in to make their mark.

Resident Anthea McKinnon said gangsterism, drug use and joblessness were some of the issues she hoped her preferred party would find solutions for.

“My parents and grandparents never had this privilege and I feel I’ve got to vote because when they were born there was no such thing as voting for us.”

McKinnon, who wanted to keep her vote a secret, said she believed the party she supported would clamp down on corruption.

GALLERY: South Africans have their say on election day