Mamabolo: Over 98% of voting stations opened on time, despite tech glitches

Just under 50,000 IEC staffers have been recruited and trained to allow the two-day process to run seamlessly.

FILE: Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo gives an update on the voting process at the national results operation centre in Pretoria. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Despite technical glitches as hundreds of thousands of citizens registered to vote on Saturday, the Electoral Commission said over 98% t of its registration sites opened on time this morning.

Just under 50,000 IEC staffers have been recruited and trained to allow the two-day process to run seamlessly.

Home affairs offices are also operating to assist those requiring IDs and temporary documents.

The IEC's Sy Mamabolo was speaking at the Election House in Centurion on Saturday afternoon. He said: “Over 98% of voting stations opened on time and were able to use material, which was delivered on time, to start the registration process.”

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Operations at other stations were delayed due to service delivery protests.

“A total of 53 voting stations did not open on time. This was, in the main, due to service delivery protests by communities seeking to use the registration weekend to draw attention to their issues.”

He said authorities were able to restore operations at most of these sites: “The commission, working with the police and local leaders, were able to resolve the problem or are in the process of resolving these issues. What I can say is that these issues are related to a service delivery issue.”

More 23,000 registration stations will close for the day at 5 pm on Saturday.

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As registration stations are expected to close at 5 pm nationwide, the start to The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)’s voter registration weekend was plagued by technical issues.

A device which verifies voter details failed and has been down in some areas since Saturday morning.

The glitch forced officials to capture information manually much to the dismay of many voters.

As one of the most anticipated local government elections in South African’s young democracy, one would expect snaking queues at registration stations, but that has not been the case in some wards across Tshwane.

Registration stations in Hatfield, Brooklyn and Mamelodi stand empty, as officials stand by idly manning the doors.
At other stations some tents have not been erected since Saturday morning.'

Adding to the low turnout is the IEC system failure which has left many potential voters aggrieved.

While the commission said the devices would be able to record details while offline this has not been the case for many.

While the IEC said its systems were restored just after 11 am, Eyewitness News can confirm at least four stations are still offline.

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