Khayelitsha informal settlement growth sees IEC put voting station on sidewalk

Voters in Ward 99 in Monwabisi, Khayelitsha, had to make do with a tent in the last local government elections in 2016 and will do so again on Monday – the area became more built-up and the shack that once served as a community centre and polling station disappeared.

Picture: Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Western Cape has had to set up a voting station on Khayelitsha sidewalk because there was no other suitable space in the voting district.

The voting station in Ward 99 in Monwabisi, Harare, is expected to have to cater to almost 4,000 voters.

Provincial electoral officer Michael Hendrickse on Thursday briefed the media on the province’s readiness for the local government elections.

He said that all 1,577 voting stations in the Western Cape would be ready and open on Monday, including 801 voting stations within the Cape Town metro.

Voters in Ward 99 in Monwabisi, Khayelitsha, had to make do with a tent in the last local government elections in 2016 and will do so again on Monday – the area became more built-up and the shack that once served as a community centre and polling station disappeared.

Such changes are common in informal settlements and a challenge for the IEC.

"In Khayelitsha we had to set up a voting station on a sidewalk because there is just either no space or no building available in that (voting) district," says provincial electoral officer, Michael Hendricks.

Hendricks said that the province would have 35 voting stations in tents, most of them within the Cape Town metro. There would also be 474 voting centres, where voters will be divided into streams to avoid long queues and allow for social distancing.

"That’s also part of our reality – the IEC doesn’t operate in a vacuum, and when it comes to the identification of suitable venues for voting stations we are also often confronted with the legacy of the ongoing structural inequalities within our country and within our city."

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