Registration chaos in Leandra

Voters were scared to register with all the police presence and decided to stay away.

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The Bulletin News
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The year 2019 will be recognised as a turning point in the history of South Africa, or not! Never before has the ANC been under such pressure as this past year. Plagued by service delivery protests, the president (Jacob Zuma) that was ousted, scandalous revelations in the Bosassa Commission of Enquiry and of course the closing of voting stations by Samakuhle Taxi Association (Samta). Tensions ran high during the last registration weekend that took place the past weekend. Samta decided to take their plea for intervention further and closed nearly all of the thirteen voting stations in the Leandra area. Samta has been trying to get answers from GMM, but to no avail. The court issued an order enabling Samta to operate between Leandra and Secunda in 2018. Taxi drivers from Samta have not been able to operate on that route despite the court order. There are claims that GMM is instigating the friction between Samakuhle Taxi Association (Samta) and Vukanini Taxi Association (Vukta). Other claims by Samta members include that the Secunda police is protecting Vukta when Samta is near. Samta decided to escalate their protests and the next opportunity was the closing of the voting stations in the Leandra area. The Bulletin was told by our sources that only one person managed to register on Saturday before the station was closed again. MEC Pat Ngomane announced on Sunday afternoon that Zamta will transport people from Leandra to Secunda, but the return route is empty. It is also confirmed that there was no permit issued to transport people back from Secunda to Leandra by taxis. It was already reported on Friday in provincial news circles that the two opposing taxi operators have reached an agreement. The same news also did the rounds on Sunday that agreements have been reached. The Bulletin spoke to AJ Mahlangu of Samakuhle Taxi Association on Sunday and he denied any agreements at that stage. The Bulletin visited the taxi rank on both days and found the owners and operators peaceful but adamant that their problem should be resolved. The IEC held special Municipal Party Liaison Committee (MPLC) meetings on Saturday and Sunday to discuss the closed Voting Stations. DA Councillors suggested that targeted registrations be done in Leandra to try and make up for the lost time during the registration weekend. Their next meeting will be on Wednesday, 30 January. The voting stations opened on Sunday but only for a limited time as the voter turnout was very low. Voters were scared to register with all the police presence and decided to stay away. IEC officials were also scared to man the voting stations even with the security measures in place because of the taxi association (Samta) closing down the stations.- Encee van Huyssteen

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