Students not allowed to vote because they do not appear on the electoral system

About seven Wits University students were turned away from the campus polling station at the Old Mutual Sports Hall on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 as their names did not appear on the IEC’s (Independent Electoral Commission) registered voter list.

Three of the seven students that Wits Vuvuzela spoke to confirmed that they had registered to vote earlier this year.

“They just told me I have not registered but I did. I registered on campus sometime this year. I woke up at 6 o’clock so I can be first in line and now I’ve just been told that I cannot vote,” said Zandile Xaba, a first year Biomedical Sciences student.

Another student who preferred to remain anonymous, told Wits Vuvuzela that he was disappointed that he could not vote because he stood in line for over an hour only to be told that he could not cast his vote.

Oupa Shai, first year Civil Engineering, came to the station with a group of friends to vote but was told that he cannot vote because his information had not been captured into the system.

“I feel disappointed, to be honest, because I really wanted to make a change. I wanted my vote to count because it was going to be my first time voting,” Shai said.

“I want to tell the IEC that they are failing us because we went and did what they wanted us to do. But now we have to wait in this long queue for nothing and I bet a lot of first year students are going to feel the same way as I am feeling right now,” added Shai.

The Deputy Presiding Electoral Officer at the Old Mutual Sports Hall voting station, who did not want to be named, said that the fault lies with the IEC and not the voters.

“There is nothing we can do for them here all they can do now is go to the IEC offices at the CJ Cronje Building by the corner of Loveday Street and Bree Street so the IEC can fix it,” the electoral officer said.

An IEC  call-centre consultant who asked to remain anonymous told Wits Vuvuzela that this issue has not been reported by the officers on site at the polling station and that nothing can be done until the matter is reported.

The IEC held late registrations at the Wits University east campus on February 26, 2019, where voters were given another opportunity to register.

FEATURED IMAGE: Voters at Wits University waiting to vote at the Old Mutual Sports Hall. Photo: Anathi Madubela.