Chaos erupts as ward committee elections abandoned

Angry residents blockaded Mountabatten Drive with burning tyres following the postponement of the elections.

Pandemonium erupted in Reservoir Hills on Sunday after planned Ward Committee elections were abandoned following a misunderstanding between residents and voting officials.

It is alleged that residents who were ready to vote became angry and unruly when they were told that the elections were postponed to another date as the state of readiness for the elections were not in place.

The angry crowd then took to the streets and blockaded Mountbatten Drive with burning tyres, preventing motorists from driving through.

Public Order Police (POP) dispersed the angry crowd. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made.

Meanwhile in a separate incident, the ward 11 elections were also postponed due to alleged mis-communication between residents and the local councillor.

A concerned Newlands East resident who wished to remain anonymous said the elections were postponed due to a disagreement about the list of candidates. “I was inside the hall and there was a big disagreement between the members of the ruling party over the list of nominated candidates,” she said.

Ward 11 councillor, Joyce Johnson, denied that there was any infighting between members. “There was a misunderstanding when it came to the agreed time of the elections. Residents who came late were locked out as the first 100 people were let in first,” said Johnson.

Cllr Johnson added that the scheduled time for the elections is Sunday, November 27, from 8am.

Newlands East Redevelopment Portfolio Committee chairman, Ashton Campbell, has urged all residents to attend the election. “It is very important for ward 11 residents to show up and cast their votes. We need to participate in this event to ensure our needs and grievances are addressed through the correct structures,” he said.

According to a statement released by the eThekwini Municipality communications team, the Ward Committee Elections were supposed to be held in all its 110 wards on Sunday, November 20.

The formation of these committees is meant to strengthen community participation and directly give residents a platform to raise their concerns and express their views on ward developmental issues.

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