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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Planning on attending Bushfire festival, but unsure how to vote on Election Day? Here’s how

With Eswatini’s MTN Bushfire Festival taking place on voting day, the organiser has encouraged South Africans attending to apply for a special vote.

With the South African General Elections set for May, just two days before Eswatini’s MTN Bushfire festival, its organisers have encouraged South Africans who’ll be out of the country to apply for a special vote.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared 29 May 2024 as the date for the 2024 general national and provincial elections

However, the 17th edition of Bushfire will take place from 31 May to 2 June 2024 at House On Fire in the scenic Malkerns Valley of Eswatini.

“This may pose a challenge to some of our South African artists, partners and service providers. Bushfire has engaged the RSA mission in Eswatini to understand the options,” Bushfire director Jiggs Thorne said in a statement.

There are two options for a South African citizen to cast their vote, the first, voting on Election Day, 29 May at their voting district in South Africa, if registered to vote in the country.

The other option is applying to cast your vote on the 27th and 28th of May in South Africa if registered for special (or early) vote.

For this option a voter will need to apply for the special vote on the IEC website. The application period will be from 15 April to 3 May 2024.

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Voting out-of-country

Voting out-of-country is considered a special vote.  

According to the IEC, in a change from previous years, not all voters who intend voting out-of-country are required to apply for a special vote online, known as a VEC 10 application.

A voter who is registered to vote out-of-country and intends voting at the accredited mission where they are registered to vote, is not required to submit an online VEC 10 special vote application.

The Bushfire director said the only other option would be to apply to vote at the SA mission in Mbabane, Eswatini, which will be on 18 May only.

“This would require voters to submit an online VEC 10 special vote application by 11:59 pm, 22 April 2024,” said Thorne.

Only voters, who will be voting at an accredited mission that they are not registered to vote at, are required to submit an online VEC 10 special vote application.

The completion of the form which can be found on the IEC’s website, informs the Electoral Commission of their intention to vote abroad by indicating the mission at which they will be voting, once the date of the national election is proclaimed.

“South African artists, partners and service providers who will be in Eswatini on Election Day are therefore advised to apply for a Special (early) vote on Tuesday 28 May so they may vote in their home voting district before travelling to the festival.”

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Artists performing at Bushfire festival

Thandiswa Mazwai was announced as one of the headliners alongside Nigerian global music sensation, Nneka.

US-Sudanese rapper and producer, Oddissee is also on the line-up.

Other South African acts on the line-up include Musa Keys, Madala Kunene, Bongiziwe Mabandla and Makhadzi among others.

The Southern African region is well represented, with Lesotho singer and songwriter Maleh returning to the Bushfire stage and seasoned Stewart Sukuma & Banda Nkhuvu from Mozambique are other acts patrons can look forward to.

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