South Africa votes in momentous poll


President Cyril Ramaphosa casts ballot at Chiawela, Soweto, Johannesburg

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MILLIONS of South Africans cast their votes on Wednesday to choose their new president, parliamentarians, premiers and councillors in an election likely to change the country’s political dynamics.

The 2024 general elections are dubbed the “most important” and “most fiercely contested” since the advent of democracy in 1994 as the ruling African National Congress’ (ANC’s) dominance is threatened.

Voters did not hide their intentions ahead of the polls as they clearly stated they would choose a president, who would address unemployment, load shedding, crime, corruption, and economic empowerment of majority blacks.

Already, some South Africans in parts of Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, North West and Western Cape took to the streets during the voting period to protest service delivery.

Others tried to block voters from casting ballots while violence broke out in KwaZulu Natal rendering the elections not free and fair.

Some South Africans in Limpopo, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and North West provinces boycotted voting citing lack of service delivery in their communities.

However, the voting processes went smoothly across the country as incumbent president Cyril Ramaphosa cast his ballot at Chiawelo in Soweto.

An elated Ramaphosa said: “The citizens will give the ANC, as they vote today, a firm majority. In my mind there is no doubt about that. We determined that democracy is the winner in this whole election and it is the democratic process in our country that is going to emerge victorious. The ANC will reap a dividend of that by winning that as the party.”

Julius Malema (right) and his wife Mantoa Matlala

Elsewhere in Seshego, Limpopo, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) president Julius Malema and his wife Mantoa Matlala cast their vote after waiting for four hours due to failure of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) voters roll machine at the station as was the case in several other voting stations across the country.

Malema expressed hope his party would perform well, boasting university and college students, who earlier on the day had formed long and winding queues across almost all campuses nationwide.

Addressing the media at Mponegele Primary School, Malema urged all political parties and their supporters to be tolerant.

“Today that child (injured because of ANC violence) remains in the ICU (intensive care unit) because some fool decided to cause fights unnecessarily. They demonstrated high levels of stupidity. They fired guns when they didn’t have firearm licences. Such people shouldn’t find resonance in society,” Malema said.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen cast his ballot in Durban while Build One South Africa (BOSA) president Mmusi Maimane voted in Johannesburg.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma, now opposition for newly ANC breakaway uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) voted at his home town of Nkandla, KwaZulu Natal where a huge crowd of supporters cheered upon his arrival at the polling station.

According to several polls conducted nationwide they predicted the governing ANC would dip below 50 percent mark for the first time while Multiparty Charter, which consists of the DA, ActionSA, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Freedom Front Plus is widely believed will not have any impact in this election.

DA leader John Steenhuisen

The fierce contestation is believed to be widely centred among the ruling ANC, EFF, DA and MK party while these other small parties are believed will not record anything above 5 percent of the total national poll.

The ANC, who seemed to be on a panic baton, reminded the nation through various social media platforms the good things their party achieved as party secretary general Fikile Mbalula tweeted on X, formerly Twitter, as to why the electorate would vote ANC back into office.

Mbalula said for the past 30 years of democracy in the ANC-led local government the nation witnessed 88,5% of South Africans live in formal dwellings, 94,7% of South Africans accessing electricity while 82,4% citizens have piped water.

He further stated that 70,83% of South Africans received sanitation services from municipalities, 66,3% citizens witnessed waste being removed once a week from their premises with 89% of municipal infrastructure Grants being spent by all municipalities
in South Africa.

“Our revolutionary mission (ANC) remains, to achieve a better life for all,” boasted Mbalula as he predicted victory for his governing party.

Newly formed Rise Mzansi party leader Songezo Zibi is experiencing delays in voting due to long queues.

Bantu Holomisa

“But it is moving (the long queue). Democracy needs patience,” Zibi said.

South Africa has 27.7 million registered voters from a population of more than 60 million people.

The voting, which started at 07:00am ends at 21:00 Central Africa Time (CAT).

– CAJ News

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