Calm restored but several Eastern Cape voting stations hit by protest

Law enforcement officers including members of SANDF keeping a close eye on developments.

Law enforcement officers including members of SANDF keeping a close eye on developments.

Published May 29, 2024


While calm had largely been restored across the Eastern Cape following police and military intervention, at least nine voting stations have been affected by sporadic protest action.

This follows unrest due to taxi protests in Mthatha on Monday which led to the complete shutdown of the Mthatha CBD and surrounding areas and the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) being unable to operate at more than 100 voting stations on Monday.

Eastern Cape Transport department spokesperson Unathi Binqose said by Tuesday morning law and order had been restored in Mthatha and traffic was free flowing.

“Law enforcement officers including members of SANDF are keeping a close eye on developments as rescue teams continue to clear some debris from (Monday’s) violent protests that were characterised with running battles between the police and protesters and mass looting of delivery trucks.

The Mthatha Airport is also back in service today after a forced closure by protesters,” he said.

National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola together with Chief of the Defence Force, General Rudzani Maphwanya, on Tuesday arrived in Mthatha where they visited and monitored deployments in the area.

Additional police officers were also deployed.

“The situation in Mthatha is under control with 15 people arrested thus far. Roads are also open,” police said.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Zolile Williams confirmed that special votes proceeded as planned in the Eastern Cape Province including in Mthatha, Port St Johns, Nyandeni and other areas impacted by the taxi strike.

IEC Provincial Electoral Officer Kayakazi Magudumana said: “We had nine voting stations affected by community protests but that number has gone down to two voting station that remained closed, one is in a Amahlathi Municipality and the other one is in King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality (KSD).

“In KSD the mayor and the speaker were there addressing the community but apparently they have not won and there are threats that even if we do come tomorrow with our tent they will destroy the tent because they don’t want to do anything with voting until their issues of service delivery are answered.

“In Amahlathi the station remains closed. It’s a community protest as well, it’s an issue that has to do with the land claims and they are just not interested in voting.”

Magudumana added that they were ready for voting to begin on Wednesday and did not foresee anything hindering them from opening stations at 7am.

Cape Times