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Special voting begins in South Africa’s local elections

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town
Posted on Monday, 1 August 2016 10:59

Thousands of voting stations have opened for South African officials, who will be on duty on election day on Wednesday, among them police officers, electoral officials and journalists.

At over 700,000, this year’s special vote applications, according to the Independent Electoral Commission figures, are three times more than during the last local elections five years ago.

A total of 26.3 million South Africans are registered to vote in the country’s fifth local government elections.

Political parties ended their campaigns on Sunday, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) holding massive rallies in Polokwane and Johannesburg.

President Jacob Zuma told ANC supporters that local government will improve over the next five years.

ANC veteran, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela made a grand entrance at the rally, while DA leader, Mmusi Maimane said the country needs jobs and services.

EFF leader, Julius Malema said his party will be victorious around the country in Wednesday’s elections.

A record 200 parties, 65 per cent more than in 2011, will contest the August 3 elections and 61,014 candidates, 12 per cent more than the last elections, were expected to contest the polls, the Electoral Commission said.

A Citizen Surveys election poll said that while there appeared to be “increasing dissatisfaction” with the ruling party, the two largest opposition parties – DA and EFF – although making some inroads, have yet to significantly dent the dominance of the ANC and attract the party’s dissatisfied supporters.

The DA, with a projected total of roughly 17 per cent of the vote, and the EFF, with around a tenth, have not yet been able to present themselves to large proportions of the electorate as a realistic alternative to the ANC, said the survey.