No surprises as leaders cast their votes
JOHANNESBURG – SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande cast his vote in South Africa’s fifth post-apartheid elections at Emmarentia Primary School on Wednesday.
Nzimande, who was on his way to KwaZulu-Natal immediately after voting, said he was delighted to have once again made his mark promptly after voting got underway at 7am.
“It really feels good to vote and in particular, to vote for the ANC,” Nzimande said outside the school’s hall, where voting was taking place.
“One is voting for progress. South Africa is a much changed, and a much better place than in 1994 because of the African National Congress and we must never take that for granted.
“I really felt good. It’s always an emotional experience as well. For me also this was a vote, I’m sure for many other people, in celebration of 20 years of what has become a really stable democracy.”
Nzimande said he was pleased to have been part of the ANC’s campaign in the lead up to May 7.
“It’s been heavy to campaign but I always find campaigning to be enriching and educative.
“To do those door-to-doors and listen to what people are saying and the issues that you pick up, it’s a very educative experience.
“It’s hard, but it’s enjoyable.”
Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) officials explained the voting procedure to Nzimande, before handing him the stamped ballot paper and an envelope.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe cast his vote in Colbyn, Pretoria after joining and following in the queue on Wednesday morning.
“There is no reason for anybody to jump the queue. If I want to be at the head of the queue I should be here the earliest,” he told reporters after voting.
“We are all voting as citizens. If there are people already queuing, there is no basis at all to jump the queue.”
Motlanthe is set to retire from active politics, after he declined a nomination to return to Parliament as an ANC MP.
The former student activist and trade unionist said he had voted for the ANC on Wednesday, his last occasion as Deputy President.
“I don’t feel any different because I will still be voting in the next elections InshAllah (God willing). I will also be voting in the local government elections next year,” he said.
Motlanthe said his tenure in government has been “very hectic”.
“As leader of government business I am the link between the executive and Parliament. There has been a lot of toing and froing with regards to Bills that had to be processed in both houses.
“There was also a lot of work outside Parliament — with regards to the work that the executive has to do. I also had to do work with the SA National Aids Council and the Human Resource Development Council, so there has been lots and lots of work,” he said.
Several police officers and journalists were at the polling station.
Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) deputy chairman Terry Tselane were also at the voting station.
The IEC has said all arrangements were in place at the country’s more than 22,000 voting stations.
Moments after casting his vote in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota said it was great to be able to help shape the future of South Africa
“It feels great,” he said.
Lekota said it was good to continue and have a part in expressing a view on who should govern in the country.
He said he believed that his party would, from this election on, be a permanent fixture in SA politics as the Congress of the People was a more established party now.
The opposition party was launched before the last general elections in 2009 but has since then been fraught with in-fighting and resignations.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe arrived at Freeway Park Primary school in Boksburg in the East Rand on Wednesday morning to cast his vote.
Mantashe, dressed in a white shirt and black pants, joined the long line of people who were waiting to cast their vote.
“I will stand in the line until I get to the front to vote,” he said.
Mantashe appeared to be in good spirits as he chatted to people in the line.
“It is always an exciting day, it is a day of fulfilment,” he said to reporters about election day.
He said the African National Congress’s campaign was strong and that many people would vote in Wednesday’s election.
“The power is in all our hands.”
Mantashe said he would visit other voting stations after he had voted to monitor proceedings on behalf of his party.
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