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IEC encouraged by voter numbers but appeals to more people to come out and vote

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IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said the elections today, the first polls held in South Africa under the cloud of the Covid-19 pandemic, proves the resilience and capability of South Africa as a nation

A woman woman a voting station
THE Electoral Commission of South Africa says it is encouraged by voters coming out but appealed to more registered voters to vote. File Picture: Jacques Naude

Pretoria – The Electoral Commission of South (IEC) today appealed to registered South Africans to come out in numbers at make their mark at voting stations for the hotly contested local government elections.

“We want more South Africans … everybody, let us come out. This is our democracy, let us celebrate it and as you can see people have come out in large numbers. We wish them well for the day,” IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said at a voting station at Dainfern in Joburg.

“As you can see, things have started on time. We have three voting centres here. People are being marshalled into which queue they should proceed with. All pensioners are required to go to the front of the queue. They will be welcomed to proceed, the pensioners.”

Mashinini said the elections today, the first polls held in South Africa under the cloud of the Covid-19 pandemic, proved the resilience of the nation.

“It is the resilience of our country and the capability we have as a nation, that if we put our minds into it, things can be done. Under normal (circumstances) we require 86 days of the prescribed timetable to deliver the electoral operations but (this time) in 42 days, the operation is up and we hope the 26.6 million voters would be able to cast their votes and make their choices heard,” he said.

“We are almost proud of what we achieved yesterday … 80% of the special voters were processed yesterday and we hope that those who didn’t manage to make it, for whatever reason, they can still come to the voting stations. We urge everyone to come out. This is our democracy, and it is important that your voice is heard and you make your choice.”

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has also appealed to every registered voter to go out and make their mark on the ballot paper.

“I call on each and every South African who is registered to vote to go out and vote for the candidate and the party of your choice. Your vote counts. Every single vote counts. With your vote you are building a better South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.

“A South Africa with strong, well-run and effective municipalities that can improve the lives of every citizen.”

Ramaphosa said local government elections are about “issues that matter most to all of us” such as housing, electricity, water, sanitation and decent roads in communities.

“We all want to get better services. We all want to have decent, sustainable work. We all want to see our businesses grow and for our communities to thrive. This can only happen if local government is strong,” he said.

“With your vote you are exercising your constitutional responsibility as a citizen to build our democracy. Remember to visit the voting station in the ward where you are registered and to take your ID with you.”

Ramaphosa also appealed to South Africans to also “make a difference” by visiting one of the hundreds of Covid-19 vaccination stations that will be in operation at voting stations around the country.

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