Voters in the 2016 municipal elections were greeted with sunny weather yesterday as they started queuing to make their marks.
Although the run-up to the elections were marked by violence over the ANC ward councillor lists, no serious incidents were reported yesterday, and voting was done in a festive mood, with even Pikachu the Pokemon putting in an appearance.
In Hanover Park, IEC officials were forced to stop political parties from campaigning outside the Lansport Civic Centre and the Hanover Park Civic Centre, while a man was removed from the Retreat Civic Centre for “unruly” behaviour, the IEC says.
Voters who woke up at the crack of dawn were also left disappointed in Kosovo when a voting station in Ward 88 opened two hours late.
By 7am, there were no ballot papers, with IEC officials saying they were waiting for a police escort from their Mitchells Plain office.
There were only two scanners for thousands of people, leading to many leaving without voting.
Sixty-year-old Xhanti Ntswayi, who arrived at 4am, was on the verge of leaving when he was called to cast his vote at 9.10am.
“I’m very angry, the IEC people were very unprepared, we came here early so that we can avoid standing in the cold for long but what I saw here was very pathetic,” he says.
But 8km away in Crossroads, the mood was a lot more festive.
At Qingqa-Mntwana Primary School, ANC and DA members appeared to have put aside their political differences and danced on the streets as a DJ at the DA’s table kept everyone entertained.
Political leaders were also out in force.
The ANC’s mayoral candidate, Xolani Sotashe, was all smiles in Strand after casting his vote early yesterday.
“I’m very confident because we spoke to our people and our people are coming out in numbers, no doubt about it,” he said.
In Pinelands, a confident Mayor Patricia de Lille said: “It’s the same feeling I had when I voted for the first time in 1994 – the value of the vote‚ and of democracy‚ is something we must never take for granted.”
At St Paul’s Church in Rondebosch, Western Cape premier Helen Zille was the first to cast her vote.
She wouldn’t come out and say the DA had the province “in the bag”, but said she was always optimistic.
Asked how she felt about DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s use of Nelson Mandela’s name during campaigning, Zille calmly said: “Madiba belongs to all South Africans, just as George Washington belongs to all Americans.”
The ANC’s provincial chairperson Marius Fransman made his mark at the Dutch Reformed Church in Kuils River, and was welcomed with open arms by the ANC Youth League of the Dullah Omar region in Khayelitsha.
“For us to have you back is a blessing because we have leaders who are plastic and popcorn,” said the league’s Unathi Tshotwana.
Bernard Joseph, provincial leader of the EFF voted at Thornton Primary School.
Joseph was hospitalised for dehydration and exhaustion earlier this week and was discharged just in time to cast his ballot.
“We need to hit the DA hard and keep their numbers below 50 percent,” he said.
Also in Thornton, Pikachu arrived to poke fun at an IEC rule that no Pokemons would be tolerated at the polls.
Mvelase Peppetta, 30, said it was all done in the name of the ANC.
“I am pro-ANC. That is my party and that is who I will vote for. The yellow is for my people,” said the monstertjie.