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All systems go for international votes

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The IEC said voting outside of the country will take place at 111 foreign missions and South African citizens in other countries will vote from May 17.

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DURBAN – The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has confirmed that it is ready for the special international votes scheduled for May 17 and 18.

IEC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Thabani Ngwira said there are 78,000 overseas voters eligible to participate in the elections, with more than 20,000 in the UK alone.

In April, the DA won its court case against the IEC to have more voting stations for citizens living abroad.

This came after the party went to the Electoral Court in February to request the inclusion of all embassies, high commissions and consulates as voting stations for the May 29 elections.

DA KZN leader François Rodgers said it had doubled the number of the party’s registered voters internationally and it is expecting to perform well.

“We brought the case to the Electoral Court in February because there were people in Australia who said they were having difficulties accessing voting stations, and the IEC agreed to increase the number of voting stations overseas.

“This clearly shows that the organisation is growing even bigger and people, including those who stay overseas, trust the DA.

“We are more than ready for the elections. I think we did well with our campaigns. We always tell people to vote for us to bring about change in the province and the country, and we are still preaching about how important it is for people to go out and vote for the DA,” said Rodgers.

ANC national executive committee member and former premier Sihle Zikalala said they are confident that they will perform well in the elections.

“People have shown confidence in us because we have kept the promises we have made to them.

“While we celebrate all our achievements, we are also aware that a lot still needs to happen in our quest to improve the lives of all South Africans,” said Zikalala.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they are ready for the start of the special votes this week. The IFP was more than confident that it will secure votes from South Africans living overseas, he said.

“We are very confident that people will vote for us. Many people have shown us that they believe in the IFP as they did when Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was still alive. We have the right man to lead us in Velenkosini Hlabisa.

“We are saying to people give us your vote to continue the legacy of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi,” Hlengwa said.

EFF KZN provincial leader Mongezi Twala said the party was thankful to the IEC for ensuring that as many as possible South Africans who live abroad get the opportunity to vote.

“We have a solid campaign that includes digital platforms that help us to spread the word even to South Africans who live in other countries to preach to them that they must vote for the EFF. We are more than ready to govern South Africa,” he said.

The IEC said it was working with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco), as it has begun shipping off voting materials. These include voting booths, ballot boxes and papers, stationery packs and all relevant lists.

The commission said voting outside of the country will take place at 111 foreign missions, and South African citizens in other countries will vote from May 17.

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