Voters in Soweto braved the windy and cold weather and went out to queue at various local government polling stations in South Africa’s biggest township.
Young and old made their way to cast their votes at Motswaledi informal settlement near Orlando. Elderly women covered themselves in blankets to keep warm as they walked to the polling station.
The country’s three major political parties – the African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters – had set up tables draped with their respective party colours a few metres from the voting tent.
Presiding officer Zekhaya Dube said she expected the queues to be longer in the afternoon.
“Most people, especially young people prefer to vote later in the afternoon. It has been a busy morning, and it will be a busier afternoon,” she said.
She said voting got off to a good start with no glitches at her station.
In Dlamini, people trickled in at a local primary school. There were five people in the queue just after 9am.
At Thuto Primary School in Molapo, first-time voter Kgomotso Dire, 19, said she stood in the queue for 15 minutes before she could cast her vote.
“The officials are very efficient. It took minutes from scanning the ID to dropping the envelope in the ballot box. I am happy. It is cold but nevertheless it is a beautiful day. I enjoyed the experience of voting for the first time,” she said as she left the station.
SA Police Service (SAPS) officers and members of the Johannesburg metro police department were on hand keeping an eye on voting stations. State vehicles were seen patrolling the vast township from the crack of dawn.
Soweto, with a population of more than a million, is part of the ANC-governed City of Johannesburg, one of the country’s most fiercely contested metros in Wednesday’s local government elections.
– African News Agency (ANA)