Drama unfolded outside a polling station in Helenvale in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday when police and the military were called to inspect a house alleged to be storing a ballot box.
However, it later emerged that the box in question was a black utility box used to store toilet rolls.
Speaking outside Bayview Primary School, African National Congress (ANC) activist Hendrik Villis said he suspected something untoward when he saw Democratic Alliance (DA) members entering the home. The ANC called the police to probe whether a ballot box had been stolen.
“Something was going on there in that house. We called the police and the police went inside and found the box,” another ANC activist, Veronica Voisen said.
The DA’s David Adrian accused ANC members of manufacturing a lie about his party.
“When the police came they saw it was a utility box with toilet roll and paper,” he said. “There was no voting material inside. The ANC are jealous of us they do it every time even in 2016 they lied about us.”
His colleague Doris Adams said the incident showed corrupt tendencies within the ANC.
The owner of the house in Leed Street, Andre Grootboom, was irate after the incident which occurred after he welcomed an ANC member into his home to use the bathroom.
“I gave him toilet roll from the same box . I even charged his phone for him. When he left he went to tell the people it’s a ballot box,” Grootboom said.
“When I came back I saw the police running inside all because of Donovan Khoisan giving wrong information. He is making me mad and I’m going to hit him.”
The elections presiding officer told journalists that residents had brought the box into the voting station but she immediately instructed them to take it away because it was not the station’s property.
Meanwhile, over 500 voters out of 2300 registered in ward 13 had already made their mark before it started raining heavily shortly before noon.
The Wednesday elections are the country’s sixth since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
Voting stations opened at 7am across the country and were scheduled to close at 9pm.
At the last national elections in 2014, the ruling ANC took 62.15 percent of the votes, with the DA getting 22.23 percent while political newcomer the Economic Freedom Fighters garnered 6.35 percent.
– African News Agency (ANA)