File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The African National Congress on Thursday sent condolences to the families of two elderly people who died at polling stations in Vanderbijlpark and Pretoria, praising their commitment to their civic duty to strengthen democracy through universal suffrage.

Susan Matona, 79, died moments before she could vote at her Mqiniswa Primary School voting station in Bophelong, Vanderbijlpark during South Africa's sixth general elections on Wednesday. The Emfuleni Municipality said Matona felt exhausted and collapsed upon her arrival at the station. Paramedics certified her dead at the scene.

In Pretoria, Dirk Henry Ochse, 67, died outside the Westview voting station in Elandspoort after collapsing while waiting for his turn to cast his ballot.

''The ANC in Gauteng is saddened by the death of two residents of Sedibeng and Tshwane regions respectively, who on Wednesday met their untimely demise before they had the opportunity to cast their votes," the party said.

"The two compatriots understood not only their civic duty to strengthen democracy through universal suffrage but they had a deeper appreciation of the inherent power that one’s vote carries in shaping the future of our country."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones and we send our deepest condolences,'' the party added in a statement.

African News Agency/ANA