Voters will be safe in Philippi, say community leaders and police

No repeat of last November’s disruption of registration process

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Last year an attempt by the Independent Electoral Commission to register voters at this site in Philippi East was disrupted by angry residents. But this year, voting will go smoothly, police and community leaders have promised. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso

Last November angry residents in Philippi East, Cape Town, chased away Independent Electoral Commission officials who came to register voters for Wednesday’s elections. But elections are taking place safely this year, say community leaders and the police.

“We have decided not to disrupt and allow people to exercise their voting rights,” said community leader Loyiso Nqitiza.

In November last year, residents of Marikana informal settlement in Philippi East chased IEC officials from a station set up to enable tens of thousands of shack dwellers to register as voters. Residents told GroundUp they had given up on the electoral process in the informal settlement of Marikana in Phillipi, which lacks water, sanitation and refuse removal.

But Nqitiza said tomorrow there would be no disruption. “All will be well. There will not be any form of intimidation or threats.”

“On Monday the elderly people voted and today (Tuesday) people voted without being threatened,” said Nqitiza.

But some voters in other parts of Philippi are still worried.

Sikelelwa Koncoshe from Brown’s Farm told GroundUp during the last local government elections she and other voters were prevented by disgruntled community members from casting their votes until police intervened.

Another resident, Momelezi Xhaso said the elderly were at risk. “We don’t know if we are going to vote on time or not.”

“I understand the issues of lack of service delivery in this area. But we can change our circumstances through voting and to disrupt and turn voters away is not going to help us but create more problems. It is our right to vote and we should be allowed,” said Xhaso.

“We are concerned and worried about being assaulted when we visit the voting station,” he said.

SAPS Western Cape commissioner Thembisile Patekile said police were ready to ensure the safety of voters.

“The community can rest assured that our boots are on the ground and our sights are set on public safety throughout the election process”.

“Acts of lawlessness and intimidation will not be tolerated, and a heavy police presence will be maintained in some areas of concern. Vacation leave of our members has been revised and support staff will be utilised to supplement operational members to maximise our forces at polling stations and throughout the Western Cape,” added Patekile.

TOPICS:  Elections 2024

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