ANC & EFF fight at poling station
Tensions were high between ANC and EFF supporters at a voting station in Freedom Park, south of Joburg, on Wednesday morning.
The two opposing groups battled to reach a consensus as to where they should set up their stands outside Freedom Park Primary school.
The residents, draped in regalia of both parties, began arguing at the entrance of the premises which has been turned into a voting station for the day.
As the confrontation began to turn violent, JMPD officers had to intervene.
After a period of negotiation, the officers forced both groups to be stationed on opposite sides of the entrance.
Taxis which had ANC flags draped from the roof were also told to move.
The supporters from both parties reluctantly agreed and retreated to a nearby pavement where they set up their tents.
A large contingent of armed SAPS officers from the Gauteng flying squad were also parked nearby to monitor proceedings.
Alongside them was a middle-aged man who stood in the dusty street next to his car.
Passers-by sang and danced along to old struggle songs he blasted from his vehicle’s radio.
But his sounds were overshadowed by ANC supporters who campaigned for the party on a speaker from the back of a bakkie that was travelling through the area.
Inside the school, streams of people lined up to cast their votes from the early hours of the morning.
They huddled together as they stood outside in the crisp and windy air, waiting to get inside the classroom where they would make their mark.
Many of them were women who arrived with children strapped to their backs and dressed with attire from the parties they were supporting.
Amongst them was 19-year-old Khumbuzile Khoza, who was anxious about voting for the first time.
“I’m nervous because I don’t know which party to vote for,” she told Independent Media.
She added that the troubled area was in desperate need of change, especially for the youth.
“Many young people here don’t have jobs and then they turn to crime.”
Another resident, Andries Malopo, who arrived with his young daughter at the voting station, also said that the area needed an overhaul.
“We want a government that helps us and is not corrupt,” he said.
Two voting stations were torched in the area on Monday night by frustrated residents.
Portable toilets were also burnt down and chairs and tables were stolen.
Residents claimed that there were problems with electricity transformers because people tampered with them, which results in power cuts.
The issue intensified and resulted in the area being without power for four or five days.