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28 May, 2024 12:12

New phase of South African election begins

Over 1.6 million are expected to cast their ballots ahead of the country’s main elections on Wednesday
New phase of South African election begins

South Africans eligible to cast their ballots from home, including the elderly and those with disabilities, have begun voting in national and provincial elections with the assistance of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

IEC officials reportedly visited homes and institutional care providers on Monday to guide voters who are unable to travel to polling stations through the electoral process, ahead of the country’s main elections on Wednesday.

According to the electoral commission, 1,668,076 South Africans have been authorized for special votes, with 624,593 of them expected to be assisted by “trained election officers at their homes or places of confinement” during the early voting process, which concludes on Tuesday.

On May 29, some 28 million voters are expected to elect new members of the National Assembly and regional parliament from 52 registered political parties in the African nation.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC), in power since the end of white minority apartheid 30 years ago, renewed its campaign promises of facilitating prosperity, creating jobs and eradicating poverty crime, and corruption.

Analysts believe the ANC is in danger of losing its majority, with recent polls indicating it has less than a 50% chance of winning the general election.

On the campaign trail in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa called for a decisive victory for the ANC, vowing that his next government would perform “better, do more, and faster.”

South Africa’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), aims to unseat Ramaphosa; it has gathered some smaller opposition coalitions to form the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa, which will allow the group to pool their votes against the ANC.

“If we sit back and allow a coalition between the ANC (the Economic Freedom Fighters) and the uMkhonto we Sizwe, aided by the sell-outs in the Patriotic Alliance, then our tomorrow will be far, far worse than yesterday. It will be doomsday for South Africa,” the party’s leader, John Steenhuisen, said in a final campaign speech on Sunday, according to Associated Press.

Steenhuisen, who is white, took over the DA as leader in 2019 after his black predecessor, Mmusi Maimane, resigned, accusing some party officials of undermining his efforts to court black voters.

The party, which won just about a fifth of the votes in the previous election in 2019, has been condemned by President Ramaphosa for writing to the US and other Western governments requesting assistance in monitoring the upcoming “crucial” votes.

Ramaphosa described the move in March as an attempt by the opposition to “mortgage” the country’s sovereignty to foreign powers.

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