Little – not the forecast of another cold front, alleged voter apathy or even a threatening fuel shortage – could dampen the election mood that swept through the country this week.
All roads seemed to lead to voting stations in South Africa.
Fears that the countrywide strike in the fuel industry could lead to serious fuel shortage, crippling the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and bringing its fleet of vehicles to a standstill, were quickly dismissed by the IEC.
Approximately 15 000 workers in the fuel industry downed tools last week Thursday when negotiations for a salary increase reached stalemate.
Industry experts predicted that as the strike continues this week, petrol stations – especially in the bigger cities – could run dry.
But, Free State IEC Spokesperson, Mmathabo Rasegane, said, “not to worry”. She said the fuel tanks of the IEC’s vehicle fleet were filled and all logistical arrangements were in place.
A poll released in the wake of the 2016 Municipal Elections also showed that 36% of the total number of respondents indicated that they did not have a political home.
Chief Executive Officer of the Market Research Association, Leonie Vorster, said an even bigger percentage indicated that politics was not their cup of tea.
This sparked fears that voters without political homes and those not interested in political parties will opt to stay away from elections polls. The South African Weather Services also warned voters to dress warmly as another cold front was approaching Central South Africa.
But visibly high security measures, such as police officers and members of the South African Defence Force, the familiar blue IEC banners at voting stations and an election message by South African President Jacob Zuma heightened the election mood as the week continued.
President Zuma also reminded registered voters who had just lost their IDs or who still had to collect them, to make their way to the Department of Home Affairs that had extended its working hours – all in the spirit of the 2016 Municipal Elections. – Cathy Dlodlo