A South African man casts his ballot in advance voting at a polling station in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township April 21, 2009. South Africans vote in a general election on Wednesday which is set to return the African National Congress to power for another five years and bring party leader Jacob Zuma to the presidency. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (SOUTH AFRICA POLITICS ELECTIONS)

Johannesburg - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant urged employers on Monday to allow employees to vote during Wednesday's elections.

“We urge all employers to allow their employees to exercise their right to vote as citizens of our country,” she said in a statement.

She said the right to vote was a fundamental one and a foundation for democracy.

“It is a right that is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which is the supreme law of the land.”

Oliphant commended employers who were planning not to trade on election day.

Legislation ensured that employees' rights to not work on a public holiday was protected, despite employers' rights to trade on election day.

“The Basic Conditions of Employment and the Public Holidays acts play key roles in protecting this right,” Oliphant said.

Sapa