by Zodidi Mhlana JOHANNESBURG South
Africa (Xinhua) -- Over 774,000 South Africans who
have applied to cast special vote began voting on Monday, with only a few minor
incidents reported, according to the Independent Electoral Commission of South
IEC’s spokeswoman Kate Bapela said that the majority of voting stations
opened on time for the voting exercise.
"Among minor challenges reported by election officials included late delivery
of some election material, late minute pitching of tents and non-arrival of
election staff due to illness," she said.
Meanwhile, a total of 452,418 special voters would be visited at home by
Home visits are provided for those voters who have infirmities or
disabilities and pregnancy and who can’t visit voting stations, Bapela said.
Those who would not be in their voting stations or be away on the day of
election on Wednesday also participated in special voting.
Bapela added that the IEC has prepared and made plans for voting officials
who might be absent on any voting day.
She added that voters must make sure that they receive national and
provincial ballots that are stamped at the back, as unstamped ballots do not
Special vote stations open at 09.00 a.m. till 05.00 p.m.
South Africa major parties battling out
ahead of elections
by Zodidi Mhlana JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- With over 26 million South Africans expected to
head to the polls on Wednesday, three major political parties have intensified
their campaigns to woo voters, especially those still undecided.
This is South Africa’s sixth general national election since the first one in
With various polls showing that no political party would get an outright
majority win in South Africa’s economic hub Gauteng province, parties shifted
their focus on the province this past weekend.
Both the African National Congress (ANC), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
held their major rallies on Sunday in Gauteng, while the Democratic Alliance
(DA) hosted its rally on Saturday as they are attempting to garner major support
in the province.
The latest poll by the Institute for Race Relations (IRR) has shown the ANC
would receive over 53 percent of votes nationally, with the DA likely to obtain
24 percent and the EFF 14 percent, if the turnout is 70 percent.
IRR’s head of politics and governance Gareth van Onselen said the remaining
time was crucial for parties to consolidate support.
"Also, this poll is not a prediction.
"There is still fluidity, especially where the ANC and EFF are concerned.
"Final days could see some movement," van Onselen said.
Political analyst Shadrack Gutto told Xinhua that the ANC could no longer
rely on its glorious past to win support, but it should root out corruption and
widespread looting that became a norm under former President Jacob Zumba’s
"The balance of power is not on the ANC’s favor in Gauteng.
"This is a party of Nelson Mandela, OR Tambo, but young people are not keen
on voting for the past," he said.
"The party can’t be resting on the laurels of its past leaders."
Polls predict that the EFF is the only political party set to grow its
support during the elections.
Established six years ago by former ANC Youth League President Julius Malama,
it obtained over 6 percent of votes in its first election in 2014 and its
support is predicted to be at 14 percent this time.
The DA is likely to grow its support by 2 percent from its 22 percent
Gutto cited EFF’s great mobilization ability and young leadership as some of
the reasons behind its growth.
"EFF has been great at mobilizing at grassroots level.
"They have been able to reach out to the youth voters because they are led by
the youth," Gutto said.
He said the party has been able to "invigorate parliament."
Some have expressed concerns about the dwindling number of young people
participating in this year’s election.
During registration period, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
visited universities’ campuses to encourage young people to vote, but the number
of the youth registered to vote has declined since 2014.
There are 341,236 youth between 18 and 19 registered to vote on Wednesday,
but this figure was at 643,133 in 2014.
Among those aged between 20 to 29, it has decreased from 5,759,236 to
Gutto said that socio-economic problems mostly impacting the youth were to be
blamed for the decline.
"Young people are dissatisfied.
"Corruption is going up, unemployment is growing and it affects the youth.
"They are the one’s entering the job market," he said.
Meanwhile, the IEC said the record number of political parties set to contest
in the May 8 election has placed "demand and pressures" on it.
South Africa’s current electoral system permits people to be chosen as public
representatives on political party tickets and not as individuals.
"It’s a political party that then chooses its leader of the country through
the propositional representation system," Gutto added.
As voting nears, IEC has urged calm and vigilance, saying parties should
ensure that elections take place without any disturbances.
Domestic and international observers to monitor the elections have been
Parties contesting the election would be permitted to deploy two party agents
to oversee and monitor the voting process and counting.
South Africa largest union federation
rallies support for ANC ahead of elections
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
South Africa’s largest union federation on Monday called on all
workers and South Africans in general to come out to vote for the African
National Congress (ANC) in the upcoming elections.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is throwing its full
weight behind the ANC in the 2019 national and provincial elections, scheduled
for May 8, COSATU national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.
"The ANC’s record in government and a comparison of the ANC election
manifesto with those of all the other parties make it quite clear that it is the
only force that can take forward our national democratic revolution and complete
the transformation of South Africa," Pamla said.
Although COSATU has at times disagreed with the ANC-led government over
certain issues, the government has a proud record of success in building a
democratic South Africa and improving the lives of the majority, he said.
COSATU, together with the South African Communist Party (SACP), has been a
coalition partner with the ANC since 1994 when the ANC first came to power.
At its 13th National Congress last year, COSATU, which has more than 3
million members, reaffirmed the federation’s solid support for its old ally.
The coalition was once on the brink of collapse due to deepening difference
among the three parties, but after Cyril Ramaphosa took over Jacob Zuma as ANC
president late last year, COSATU mended ties with the ANC.
The SACP has also called on its members to vote for the ANC.
"Our occasional differences are nothing compared to the gulf that separates
us from such parties as the Democratic Alliance, which would like to put the
ANC’s reforms into reverse and pursue policies that would deepen rather than
reduce the inequalities in our society," Pamla said, referring to the main
"Our task now is first and foremost to make sure that the ANC wins a
comprehensive victory, nationally and in every province," he said.
Trade unions, civic organizations, nongovernmental organizations and the ANC
itself have to be strengthened so that they can push from below to assist the
government to overcome any resistance to its policies, Pamla said.
Members of Parliament and cabinet ministers have to play a leading role in
transformation but they cannot do it alone, he said.
Under the ANC leadership, South Africa has achieved massive advances in
winning democracy and human rights and has started to improve the lives of the
majority, but more needs to be done to achieve a similar improvement on the
economic front, where the structure of society has changed little since the
apartheid days, Pamla said.
Wealth is still concentrated in the hands of a tiny rich elite who own and
control the all-powerful banks and mines, while the majority still suffer from
mass unemployment and poverty and far too many communities still lack the basic
essentials of life, according to Pamla.
"COSATU will do everything in its power to make sure not just that the ANC is
victorious but that the votes it receives are repaid in real improvements to our
lives," he said.
South African government implores
to allow workers to vote in upcoming elections
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The South African government on Tuesday appealed to employers to
allow workers to exercise their democratic rights through voting in the upcoming
Employers who force employees to work on election day are denying them their
constitutional and democratic right to vote, thus violating the Constitution,
Labor Minister Mildred Oliphant said as the country is set to hit the polls on
The minister was responding to numerous complaints received by the Department
of Labor that certain employers want to force workers to work on the election
The election day was declared a public holiday recently by President Cyril
"I therefore, encourage employers to release workers on Wednesday to go and
exercise their democratic and constitutional right in casting their vote,"
In the elections, a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each
province will be elected.
The elections, the sixth since the end of apartheid in 1994, will also
determine who will become the next president.
Ramaphosa will lead the ruling African National Congress, with the party
attempting to retain its majority status and secure Ramaphosa a full term in
office as president.
Also on Tuesday, South Africa’s Parliament encouraged South Africans who are
eligible to cast their votes.
All the citizens should play their part in ensuring that the election be free
and fair, said the Parliament in a statement.
"Your vote tomorrow is your only opportunity to choose who will represent you
for the following five years nationally, in the National Assembly, and
provincially, in the provincial legislatures," the statement said.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the number of
eligible voters for this year’s elections stands at 26.75 million, representing
a 1.3 million increase from the number of people who registered to vote in 2014.
Zimbabwe ruling party forecasts ANC’s win
in South African elections
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has tipped South Africa’s ruling ANC to win the
May 8 general elections and maintain its stranglehold on the country’s politics.
ZANU-PF secretary for information and publicity, who is part of the party’s
delegation to observe the elections, said the ANC was poised for victory.
The two parties enjoy cordial relations as former liberation movements which
led their countries to independence.
Former finance minister and party secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa is
leading the 11-member ZANU-PF delegation which also attended an ANC campaign
rally at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, on Sunday.
"The ANC could be heading for a victory and the rally was a huge success,
sending a clear message of dominance.
"The atmosphere around is calm and peaceful," Moyo told the State-controlled
ZANU-PF deputy secretary for youth affairs Lewis Matutu also commended the
ANC youth league for their mobilization efforts.
"The ANC youth league has done a lot of mobilization for the party and they
are in control of their structures from top to bottom," Matutu said.
Incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the ANC in tomorrow’s elections
against his main challenger Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance seeking to
retain the party’s majority status and get a full term in office after assuming
office in February 2018 following the recalling of former President Jacob Zuma.
Opinion polls show that the ruling ANC will win with approximately 60 percent
of the vote.