CAPE TOWN | The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had to set up a voting station on a Khayelitsha sidewalk because there was no other acceptable area in the polling district, since the informal settlement sees growth.
The voting station in Ward 99, Monwabisi, Harare, is projected to serve over 4,000 people.
Michael Hendrickse, the provincial electoral officer, informed the media on Thursday about the province’s readiness for the local government elections.
He stated that all 1,577 voting stations in the Western Cape, including 801 voting stations within the Cape Town metro, would be ready and open on Monday.
In the last local government elections in 2016, voters in Ward 99 in Monwabisi, Khayelitsha, had to make due with a tent, and they will again on Monday, since the neighborhood has grown more developed and the shack that once served as a community centre and polling station has vanished.
In informal settlements, such shifts are prevalent, posing 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.
Furthermore Hendricks stated that the province would have 35 tent voting sites, the most of which would be located inside the Cape Town metro area. There would also be 474 voting centers, with voters divided into streams to avoid long lines and allow for socioeconomic separation.
“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.” Added Hendricks.