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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist


Polls: Are we ready to vote?

President Cyril Ramaphosa announces official election date, with over 26 million voters registered.


President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday officially proclaimed 29 May as the official election date, with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) closing the voter registration roll at midnight, marking a milestone reached towards the country’s watershed polls. Ready and satisfied with progress made The IEC expressed its readiness and satisfaction with progress made. A flurry of late registrations was expected to add a sizable number to the more than 26 million people who had already registered to vote in the elections which will, for the first time, see independent candidates and many smaller parties on the ballot sheet. Upbeat IEC…

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President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday officially proclaimed 29 May as the official election date, with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) closing the voter registration roll at midnight, marking a milestone reached towards the country’s watershed polls.

Ready and satisfied with progress made

The IEC expressed its readiness and satisfaction with progress made.

A flurry of late registrations was expected to add a sizable number to the more than 26 million people who had already registered to vote in the elections which will, for the first time, see independent candidates and many smaller parties on the ballot sheet.

Upbeat IEC deputy chief electoral officer Mawethu Mosery said the electoral body had made “much progress in the preparations, with some areas at an advanced stage”.

“We have a number of considerations and preparations, including the candidates’ nomination system; voting booth size and additional ballot boxes,” he said.

“We are training more staff and will appoint more than the usual number for this election.”

ALSO READ: Voter registration to close at midnight as Ramaphosa proclaims election date

Peopke who failed to register

People who failed to register “will miss participation in this important election”.

“The IEC has made the call for people to register to vote, encouraging them to participate, supported by all media houses.

“It will now go down to the wire in May, with the electorate making choices, having gone through the manifestos of independents and political parties.”

Mosery described the proclamation of the election date as “quite significant, as it sets the legal time frame to voting day based on the gazetted timetable”.

Asked about any glitches encountered so far, Mosery said: “There are no challenges identified at this stage.

“We want to alert citizens about dangers caused by the usual issues – disinformation and misinformation.”

ALSO READ: 2024 election: Voter registration deadline looms

Swing in votes towards smaller parties

Political analysts Dale McKinley and Sandile Swana predicted a swing in votes towards smaller parties.

McKinley said: “The vote is going to be widespread, with the ANC facing a threat of losing its majority.

“The opposition will be picking up some of these votes, with the MK [uMkhonto weSizwe] party being a wild card.”

Swana said: “The voters will be attracted by younger parties, those showing fresh, high-capacity talent and a professional track record.

“Citizens are tired of the DA [Democratic Alliance] and ANC, as the two political drawcards are both losing votes and are boring.

“Ramaphosa wants elections done as quickly as possible before Jacob Zuma and the MK party get more well organised to draw more votes from the ANC.

ALSO READ: IEC on why 2024 elections will be different

“Independents and new parties bring the necessary freshness.”

McKinley said the IEC had been “very competent in its preparations and communicating the registration message, getting people to participate”.

Problem to deal with violence

He said the big challenge could be on how to deal with violence, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal.

People, he said, had lost faith in the political system, leading to a possible voter apathy.

“For 30 years, promises have been made to people and those have not come to bear.

“People have voted in the past without seeing any change and may now decide not to give a vote to any particular party.

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“There is also a lack of information and knowledge about the workings of our political system, resulting in some people [seeing] no point in participating in something they do not know much about.

“We need a new class of politicians, people who are interested in public service, not just positions, money, benefits and maintaining power.

“When people believe there are genuine individuals who have their interests at heart, that is something that can capture their imagination,” he said.

Massive 2024 ballot paper

The massive 2024 ballot paper was likely to cause confusion to some voters.

“We could be seeing a lot of spoilt ballot papers or those not done properly.

“Some people do not know the difference between an independent and a political party. The IEC has so much to do in public education.

ALSO READ: Expect Ramaphosa’s announcement on election date within 15 days – Presidency

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