24 August 2008
Riot At Pigg’s Peak
By MBONGENI NDLELA
PIGG’S PEAK—The primary elections held here yesterday were marred by chaotic incidents as people forced their way to cast their votes way after the voting time had elapsed.
The exercise, which was held at the Pigg’s Peak Magistrate’s Court, was halted just after 5pm.
This did not go down well with the voters as they started rioting in anticipation to cast their votes. The over 800 angry voters demanded to continue with the exercise irregardless of the fact that the election time had elapsed. By 5pm, which, according to the EBC, was the voting end time, more than 900 people were still queueing at the court premises to vote.
To express their disappointment with the presiding officer’s decision to postpone the election, the disgruntled voters shouted slogans while singing political songs and later toyi-toyed at the court’s entrance. Inside the court were the polling officer, returning officer and the nominees while others were still voting.
So serious was the situation that five police officers and three warders had to block the court’s entrance in a bid to restrain the violent voters who, by that time, wanted to gain entry.
Notably, other voters remained in their long queues with hope that they would still be allowed to vote.
It took them about half an hour to disperse from these lines. However, they later gathered near the Magistrate Court’s entrance waiting for the final word from officials from the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
It is said that chairman of the EBC instructed the presiding officer here to postpone the voting exercise.
During the announcement of the postponement of the exercise, most people complained that they come from far places, which then would mean extra cash for them if they are to come back for voting.
"If we don’t vote today (yesterday) we won’t come back again. Besides that we have other errands for tomorrow (today). Some of us are from far places and the bus fares are digging deep into our pocket. The voting exercise should continue black or white," complained the frustrated voters.