President casts his vote

With voting in the seventh democratic elections underway across the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa has cast his vote in Chiawelo, Soweto, the township where he grew up.

‘I went into the voting station, greeted various party agents, and proceeded to cast my vote. This is a great day for democracy in South Africa. This is the day when South Africa decides on the future of our country…who should lead the government of South Africa,’ the President said on Wednesday.

Voting in the 2024 National and Provincial Elections started at 7am and is expected to close at 9pm.

The Electoral Commission (IEC) assured citizens that no eligible voter will be turned away and that every voter in a queue by 9pm will be assisted.

‘It is wonderful to meet so many people who are here to vote for the stabilisation and the extension of our democracy. I heard that voting is going well throughout the country. We are heartened that we have so many observers. I have been told there are 190 observers and I am sure the IEC will run a
good election,’ the President said.

He expressed concern about incidents of people interfering with the work of the IEC.

‘We are concerned about the incidents that have been reported, incidents where the IEC has raised its concern. There was one incident where the police had to intervene by arresting those who were interfering in the work of the IEC.

‘The work of the IEC is sacrosanct; it should never be interfered with because when you interfere with the work of the IEC, you are interfering with our democracy. You are trying to subvert the will of the people. The people of South Africa should never be obstructed and interfered with in anyway what so ever,’ President Ramaphosa said.

The President appealed to South Africans to abide by the prescripts of the electoral law and the Constitution during the election period.

South Africa’s constitution grants all citizens aged 18 and older the right to vote.

‘I have full confidence in our security officers throughout the country that they are going to execute
their work and will make sure that those who seek to embark on ways that will disrupt our elections will be dealt with,’ he said.

The IEC has reiterated that voters must vote where they are registered.

‘The general rule in elections is that a person votes at a voting station where they have registered. The only exception to the general rule is that a voter may vote outside of their registered voting district only after notifying the CEO. Notifications in this regard closed on May 17. Approximately 360 000 voters have been approved to vote outside their voting districts,’ the Commission said.

The commission also wishes to remind all eligible voters of the following:

To bring along valid South African identity document.

That each voter will be verified on the voters roll and marked with ink on the left thumb.

Each voter will receive three ballot papers: the national, regional, and provincial ballot papers. Voters are reminded to indicate their choices with one mark on each ballot (voters who have given pr
e-notification to vote at a voting stations outside the province in which they are registered will receive only the national ballot).

That each ballot paper will be validated with a stamp on the reverse.

That all three ballots must be deposited in the ballot box at the voting station.

It is prohibited for a voter to take a photograph of their marked ballot paper. This arrangement is necessary to protect the secrecy of the choice of voters and to avoid voters being coerced or unduly induced into making political choices.

Source: South African Government News Agency