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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

A VIEW OF THE WEEK: Is Wednesday a holiday?

Whatever your plans on Wednesday, there can be no excuse for not using your hard-fought right to vote in the elections.

The biggest anxiety of a 3-year-old scared of heights is how to go down the “big slide” at the park.

My father taught me an important lesson with this: just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and move forward.

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A slightly older South Africa is taking the same advice as it pushes forward to the national and provincial elections next week.

Markets, economies, political parties and ordinary citizens are postponing major decisions to see if the predictions of the ANC losing a majority are correct or just doomsaying.

I doubt anyone is postponing their wedding. But if you are tying the knot, please don’t do so on Wednesday.

What is Wednesday?

Over 2.7 million South Africans are eligible to cast their votes in this year’s elections, with most set to cast their ballots on Wednesday at 23 292 voting stations across the country.

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It is the highest number of voters since the dawn of democracy and will shape SA’s political future.

But will people come out in their numbers to vote? Or will the public holiday be another mid-week break to sleep in and have friends over?

Only 66% of registered voters actually voted in the 2019 elections. It was even lower for the 2021 local government elections at 45.86%.

Long queues and preliminary reports of bump turnouts give me hope that things will be different this year. It could point to more urban voters casting their ballots next week.

But concern of violence, unrest and apathy across the country remains.


It is former president Jacob Zuma‘s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party that has stolen much of the headlines over the past few months, with court cases, reports of “purges” in leadership, and threat of disruptions if they do not get their way.

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While a security report flags possible increased violence after the elections, I think this is more pre-emptive and cautionary than a prediction of anarchy ahead. Mild and controlled flare-ups will be the only puncture of an otherwise peaceful election. There is no need to stay at home for your safety.

Elections apathy

With 70 political parties and 11 independent candidates contesting the elections, it can feel overwhelming. It can feel as if your vote will make no difference or be diluted.

In areas where service delivery has ground to a halt, it can feel like your vote will make no difference. Perhaps you feel the party you voted for previously did nothing.

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While these may seem like valid reasons, they do not bring the change needed. It also betrays those who fought for the right to vote and decide our future.

The diversity of parties allows you to vote for whomever you think will bring that future you want. It is literally in your hands.

Please don’t give that away for just another “day off”.

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