Woman claims IEC lost her wheelchair

Toni Aranes claims the IEC lost her wheelchair after she lent it to the organisation on election day.

A Glencairn Heights woman claims the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has lost her wheelchair.

Toni Aranes says she voted at the Phoenix Hall around midday on Monday, November 1 and an elderly man behind her in the queue asked the presiding officer for a wheelchair for his wife but was told there were none available.

Ms Aranes said she had told the presiding officer for the Phoenix Hall that she lived nearby and had a wheelchair at home that the IEC could use to help the elderly and she would collect it at 8.30pm.

“My suggestion was well received and the presiding officer said it will be of great help,” Ms Aranes said.

However, the wheelchair had been missing when she had returned to the voting station at 8.30pm to collect it, she said.

The presiding officer had told her that the person who had used the wheelchair had not returned it.

“I tried to talk to her, but she just turned around and continued working. I gave her my cell number on a piece of paper and was told that her cellphone’s battery had died,” Ms Aranes said.

She had waited in vain for a call from the presiding officer and had been unable to get through to the IEC’s offices, despite several attempts, she said.

“Mistakes happen and if she had just come to me and said she was sorry but my wheelchair had gone missing, I can understand it, but to be so rude and dismissive infuriated me,” she said.

The IEC’s Portia Harrison said she had tried several times to contact the presiding officer but had been unable to reach her.

However, she said, according to the deputy presiding officer and the caretaker at the Phoenix Lodge voting station, Ms Aranes had collected her wheelchair.

Ms Aranes denies this.

“I will be undergoing a spinal fusion in January, and I need my wheelchair,” she said.

Ms Aranes asked that the community to be on the lookout for a black wheelchair decorated with white stick-on flowers and rhinestones. She can be contacted on WhatsApp at 071 069 2494 or on 082 296 2439.