SUPER: SOUTH AFRICA THE VOTING BEGINS
Old women walking
Young man carrying old man
Woman in a wheel barrow
Woman hugging woman
2nd woman speaking
Old people voting
w/s Soweto township
Jim Laurie on camera
SUPER: Jim Laurie, Soweto
Crowded voting station
CU door of voting area
Old couple walking toward camera
Mr Mkese INT
Jim with election official
Election office INT
Voting station pix
Close up old woman
Shots of old people walking with cane
(short up sound natsot)
VO: They had waited a lifetime for this day.
A father carried to and from the voting station on his son’s back.
A mother arrived by wheelbarrow.
(short up sound natsot woman laughs)
An emotional day for all.
SOT: This is so exciting. We are so excited. We cannot contain ourselves.
SOT: Anything can happen to me now- I don’t mind - as long as I cast my vote
SOT: This is a very big day for us.
VO: Today was reserved for older voters and those with special circumstances. They voted – with a little help – at old age homes, at hospitals, a special day for all.
But here in Soweto and many other places, things did not go quite as planned.
SOT: The determination to vote for the first time is strong here but it hasn’t been easy. Some of these older people got here at 630 this morning. Eight hours later, they are still waiting.
Voting stations were overcrowded and ill prepared.
This one opened five hours late because pencils, boxes, and ballot papers had not arrived.
80 year old Archibald Mkese and his wife were about to go home without voting when we saw them.
SOT: We go there and there and there I don’t know what is going on.
VO: Soon an election official arrived and promised them a ride to a less crowded station.
SOT: It won’t be too long. I’m around.
VO: Others were less fortunate. Some were overcome by hunger and exhaustion after the long wait.
And there may have been lost votes.
SOT: People now, some of them who return home
They’ll never come back again. Because they will say tomorrow will be the same thing.
VO: Tomorrow with voting open to everyone over the age of 18, many expect polling stations to be overwhelmed.
There’s already talk of extending the voting period.
So many have waited so long…
Three days is just not enough to change history.
Jim Laurie ABC News Soweto.