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Today is reminiscent of 1994

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has likened today’s Elec­tion Day to that of the first demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tion in 1994, after wit­ness­ing the high vot­er turnout at vot­ing sta­tions across the coun­try.

South Africans are vot­ing in the Nation­al and Provin­cial Elec­tions today. Vot­ing sta­tions will remain open until 9pm.

“The response to the vot­ing has been amaz­ing. The peo­ple are ener­gised to cast their vote. They are herald­ing a new dawn … and a peri­od of hope.

This is a vote that reminds us of 1994, because in 1994 our peo­ple were just as excit­ed as this. Our peo­ple are real­ly excit­ed,” said a jovial Pres­i­dent after cast­ing his vote at Hitekani Pri­ma­ry School in Chi­awe­lo, Sowe­to.

The leader of the ANC said peo­ple had come out in their droves to vote for a gov­ern­ment that will serve them and their aspi­ra­tions and that they have the con­fi­dence his par­ty can do so.

“I am hum­bled by the turnout here today. There is a great vibe – a vibe for democ­ra­cy.”

He hoped the out­come of the elec­tion will be in line with what the peo­ple wish – to see a coun­try that is work­ing. He said he was com­mit­ted to work­ing to grow the econ­o­my and attract invest­ment and that the elec­tion was a boost for investor con­fi­dence.

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa said the man­date he was get­ting from the peo­ple was that gov­ern­ment must has­ten ser­vice deliv­ery. He said he want­ed peo­ple who want­ed to work and do right by the peo­ple of the coun­try.

He said while cor­rup­tion and patron­age had got in the way, Gpvern­ment knew their mis­takes. “We are say­ing the peo­ple should rein­vest their con­fi­dence in us. The com­mis­sions of enquiry are reveal­ing a lot and we are say­ing we are going to cor­rect the ways of the past.”

He appealed to those who were protest­ing rather than vot­ing that it was not the best way for their con­cerns to be heard. “I say that it is not the right way of rais­ing your issues – vote and then say I vot­ed because I want my need addressed.”

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa was joined by his spouse, Dr Tshe­po Mot­sepe.

Mean­while, oppo­si­tion par­ty lead­ers were among the first in the throngs of vot­ers cast­ing their bal­lots at the var­i­ous vot­ing sta­tions in Sowe­to.

Among them were Demo­c­ra­t­ic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane who cast his vote at the Pres­by­ter­ian Church in Dob­senville at 7am.

A jovial Maimane, who was accom­pa­nied by his fam­i­ly mem­bers and Pre­mier can­di­date, Sol­ly Msi­man­ga, urged South Africans to come out in their num­bers to vote for the future of the coun­try and give hope to the unem­ployed.

“On such a his­toric day, I’d say it is impor­tant to vote here in Sowe­to with the peo­ple of Sowe­to to express a hope and a future for our coun­try. Sowe­to to me rep­re­sents the home of where the strug­gle is,” he said, address­ing reporters.

The coun­try was now enter­ing into a new strug­gle — a strug­gle for jobs.

“I call on the peo­ple of this coun­try to come out in their num­bers. It’s a his­toric moment in our nation as we tran­si­tion again,” he said.

Eco­nom­ic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) Deputy Pres­i­dent Floyd Shiv­am­bu was impressed with the ear­ly vot­er turnout at his sta­tion at the Moses Kotane Pri­ma­ry School in Braam­fis­ch­er.

“The num­bers are very impres­sive. We [vot­ed] here in the pre­vi­ous elec­tion and the num­bers have nev­er been this huge in the morn­ing. Peo­ple would nor­mal­ly come in the after­noon and have long queues. But already we have long queues, not only here but in all the areas,” he said.

He also expressed the feel­ing that today felt like 1994 all over again when the coun­try held its first demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tions.

This, he said, is a deci­sive moment in the change of gov­ern­ment.

“When­ev­er a change of gov­ern­ment hap­pens, the enthu­si­asm defines the vot­ers in the queues, and the queues here are telling of a deci­sive change,” he said.

UDM leader Ban­tu Holomisa cast his vote in Pre­to­ria. He said vot­ing was a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to par­tic­i­pate in devel­op­ing democ­ra­cy. He was pleased to see long queues of peo­ple ready to vote.

Patri­cia de Lille, leader of new­com­er the Good Par­ty, said as mil­lions of good South Africans head to the polls, they have one thing in com­mon – hope that things will go a lit­tle bet­ter for their fam­i­lies and coun­try, and that good will pre­vail.

“My vote is not a secret. I’m vot­ing to fix South Africa for good,” she said on her offi­cial Twit­ter han­dle.

Over 26.7 mil­lion South Africans are expect­ed to vote to elect the country’s sixth admin­is­tra­tion after the dawn of democ­ra­cy today. —

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