TOWARDS midday on voting day, the hordes of journalists who had camped at Mponegele Primary School in Seshego Township to report on EFF leader Julius Malema casting his vote witnessed an unusual development.
A popular figure in the form of National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrams made a surprise visit to this Ward 13 polling station, much to the EFF’s worry and disapproval.
It was an unexpected appearance for many.
Justifying his presence at this drama-filled voting station in Malema’s backyard, Abrahams, who confirmed that he had already cast his vote in Pretoria, said he had merely came to “observe”.
He said: “I came here to observe that the elections are running smoothly and also ensuring that nobody is intimidated to exercise their democratic right to vote.”
However, Abrahams’ visit did not impress the red brigades, who accused him of trying to influence the votes in favour of the ANC.
The EFF’s Martin Monyela protested that Abrahams’ visit was “worrying”.
“Never in my life have I ever heard that an NPA boss has come to observe the elections. This is unfair because his appearance will influence voters to sway their votes towards the ANC since he was appointed to his position by President Jacob Zuma,” a concerned Monyela said.
The drama continued when Malema arrived, for the first time accompanied by more than one person to a voting station.
Unlike in previous polls where he was flanked by his grandmother Sarah, the EFF leader was this time accompanied also by his wife Mantwa.
Malema said he was pleased with the turn-up by voters and the smooth running of the election processes by the Independent Electoral Commission.
Wheelchair-bound Makole Botapelo (46), a mother of two, was among the voters.
She said she voted for Malema’s party because “it understands the plight of the destitute, including people with disabilities like me.”
Botapela, who said she was not aware that disabled people and the elderly could apply for special votes, added that “It is the duty of the IEC to educate citizens about processes like special votes.”
After casting his vote, Malema said he was pleased with the turn-up, saying: “Our people have responded positively by coming in large numbers. It is very important indeed that they have heeded the call to come in large numbers and be part of this election process.”
The firebrand leader then took a swipe at members of his former political home, the ANC, accusing tem of distributing T-shirts during election day.
When the election results were announced, the EFF emerged triumphantly, effectively dislodging the ANC who have been at the helm of the ward since the new dispensation.