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. – SAnews.gov.za