The IEC in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga, said on Wednesday it was worried the shortage of petrol in the area might impede on some of its voting processes.
At least three fuel stations ran dry on Wednesday morning in KwaMhlanga because of the ongoing strike in the petroleum industry over wage increases.
IEC’s deputy presiding officer Miriam Mabena told African News Agency the fuel shortage might make it difficult for the commission to transport ballot papers from a voting station at Victory Multipurpose Centre to the headquarters of the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality in Kwaggafontein, about 30 kilometres away.
“This is a problem for us because we have to refuel our vehicles and take the material to the municipality,” said Mabena.
“The fuel shortage will disturb us. We are worried but everything is going smoothly at this voting station now.”
Mabena said 328 people had cast their votes between 7am and 10am, including a 77-year-old woman. She said the only hiccup they encountered at the centre was that the addresses of some of the registered voters did not appear on the voters’ roll.
“We asked them [voters] to fill in forms and they voted. I think the issue of the addresses was caused by a technical problem, but it did not delay the voting process,” she said.
While it was smooth sailing at several voting stations in the area in the morning, some residents with cars said they preferred to drive to other areas in a quest to find petrol and vote later.
“If I can go to the voting station now and stand in a queue, I might not find petrol later,” said resident Nomvula Msiza.
“I must get petrol because I will not be able to drive to work tomorrow,” she added.
About 15 000 workers affiliated with Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) downed tools on Thursday after wage talks stalled last week.
This followed an offer of a 7% increase from the sector. Ceppwawu is pushing for a one-year agreement for a 9% wage increase.
– African News Agency (ANA)