NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa goes to the polls


Posted on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 11:45

South Africa goes to the polls

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town

Photo©ReutersMost of South Africa's close to 23,000 polling stations opened early in the morning, as the southern African country holds its fifth elections since the end of apartheid 20 years ago.


On Wednesday, the 25,23 million voters will be able to cast their votes at more than 22,263 voting stations across the country and the country's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said.

I am very proud of being part of the process to raise the bar on political discourse in South Africa

The run up to the election has largely been without incident, although there have been pockets of clashes, particularly in Bekkersdal, west of the industrial capital, Johannesburg, where State Security minister, Siyabonga Cwele has called for peace and calm after two election tents were set on fire during the early hours of this morning.

Police said a man had been arrested in connection with the burning of the tents.

In some parts of the country, public order police officers have been deployed in so-called hot posts, where violent service delivery protests have taken place, with the security officials threatening to arrest anyone who disrupted the vote.

Earlier this week during the special voting day – to accommodate early voters – a polling station was set alight in the Eastern Cape.

Voting stations will close at 9pm tonight and first results are expected by midnight.

Meanwhile, several political leaders including the Democratic Alliance's Helen Zille and Agang SA, Mamphele Ramphele have cast their votes in Cape Town.

"I am very proud of being part of the process to raise the bar on political discourse in South Africa," Ramphele said.

Zille said, "the election is a platform to be able to change government peacefully".

ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe who voted in Johannesburg said, "It is always an exciting day, it is a day of fulfillment".

The ANC is expected to win the election, with the official opposition DA hoping to increase their share of the vote.

In the 2009 election, the ANC won 65.9% if the vote and the opposition DA won 17,5%.

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