Calls for calm after registration storm

PHIRI CAWE

A group of angry residents in Kuyasa and Zwelitsha have vowed to continue disrupting the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) services until their grievances have been addressed.

During the weekend’s voter registration drive on Saturday and Sunday March 5 and 6, the residents went on a rampage, disrupting operations and demanding proper consultation over new ward demarcations.

They closed down Sizisukhanyo and Ludwe Ngamlana registration centres amid accusations of being sidelined when new demarcations were made. Residents have been in Ward 91 and under the new dermacations they are part of Ward 97, something that did not sit well with them.

Community leader Pasika Khetseke said residents were prepared not to vote in the upcoming local government elections.

“In December we held a biennial general meeting and everything was normal. We were assured that we would not be taken elsewhere, but now we are told we are under Ward 97. After hearing that, we decided that the two voting stations will have to close down,” he said.

Under the watchful eye of police, residents sang and danced in the rain, refusing to leave.

“Police won’t scare us. We are fighting for a good cause here. We had sent letters to our leaders and the City of Cape Town after hearing about the changes but only the City responded positively.

“Our leaders never came back. These stations will remain closed until we are given a proper answer,” he said.

Residents took a swipe at their leaders, who, they felt, had sold them out. When Vukani arrived at the scene, there wwas no sign of the leaders. Community members said the protest was not staged by any political party but rather byconcerned residents.

But IEC media liaison, Trevor Davis, said the commission would continue to engage the community so that registration could go ahead. He said they hoped to find a solution soon and that the commission would be meeting with community leaders to eliminate future disruptions of the process.

“Voter registration is an ongoing process. The second opportunity might be announced shortly. We will have discussions with the community and see what will the results be,” he said.

Ward 95 councillor Mpucuko Nguzo advised the residents to resolve their issues soon. “I heard they are talking about proper consultation by the ANC provincial leadership and some are accusing the councillor (of changing the ward demarcation). But the truth is, this is not done by anyone of us. It is done nationally (by the Municipal Demarcation Board).

“The solution is clear, they need to admit that the provincial leadership has no say on the matter. But as far as I know the leadership was there trying to resolve the issue but there was nothing concrete they out with,” he said.