On the voting day, the 1st of November 2021, the ecumenical movement deployed 330 election observers. The observers are deployed in all the 11 district municipalities of the province of KwaZulu Natal (KZN). Particular attention of observation was focussed on the identified hotspots. The hotspots that we have identified are voting stations at Phoenix, Inanda, Imbali, Copesville, to mention a few. The KZNCC has been doing election observation since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
KwaZulu Religions for Peace (KRfP) and KZN Inter-Religious Council (KZN-IRC), World Religions for Peace (WRfP), KZN Democracy and Election Forum and National Election Monitoring Network (NEMN), Diakonia Council of Churches (DCoC), Civil Society Organisations (CS), YMCA, Local Ecumenical Action Network (LEAN), encourage all eligible voters to exercise their right to elect representatives of their choice by voting early in the day.
The role of the faith leaders in this election is peacebuilding, and peace-making. Where and when needed the faith leaders have offered to do mediation and conflict management within the election day and beyond. The deployment of police and army is to make sure that voters are safe and that there is safety and security. This is to create an environment where free and fair election can be ensured.
The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) observers are present throughout the province and have identified few glitches which are important to mention such as,
- Water and sanitation
- Scanners offline (voters not captured)
Manyiseni – Ngwavuma
- Protest march
- NFP General Secretary attacked
- Another NFP member stripped off their regalia
- Allegation of already marked boxes being investigated
- People in the same household allocated different voting stations
- Ran out of the paper for the ID scanners
Community and voters in general have been encouraged by the visibility of the KZNCC observers in the field. They are encouraged by the solidarity of churches with local communities.
There has been a slow turnout in some voting stations compared to the previous elections, this is just a preliminary report, KZNCC is therefore encouraging voters to go out in their numbers to cast their vote.
KZNCC has made a call that the farmers should release the farm workers to exercise their vote. Our observer’s’ teams are well trained and have been deployed to observe the electoral processes and that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) does her work and that all who are participating in the election comply with the legislation on election matters.
Our observer’s teams have given their services as volunteers. They have offered their time and left their daily duties to see to it that the election is indeed free and fair. They are exercising their responsibility as good citizens who are concerned about the well-being of the country and in support of democratic practices is supported and defended.
Collated by Dr Mogashudi Lucas Ngoetjana
1 November 2021