Gert Samson (83) of Colville cast his vote under the watchful eyes of IEC staff members to help the country move forward and plans to sit at home for the rest of the day. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Kimberley - There was little fanfare as Cope heavyweights Pakes Dikgetsi and Fred Wyngaard made their crosses in the Northern Cape on Wednesday.

The party’s presence was visibly lacking at most polling stations in the province on Wednesday with only the ANC and DA, and occasionally the EFF, making any real show for the benefit of voters.

Wyngaardt, who donned a plain white shirt, with only a small insignia of the party logo on the pocket, covered by a jacket, said he was excited about voting and had waited for five years to do so. “For political parties, this is the most important day for us.”

He added that the elections would be hotly contested in the province. “Hopefully we are lucky and force the ANC to get less than 55 to 60 percent of the votes, in which case we can form a coalition government.”

Wyngaardt said he was hoping that voters would make an educated vote. “We are hoping that voters think about who they are voting for and not be emotional about it.”

Dikgetsi, who voted at Kimberley Junior School, said he too was very happy that he could exercise his democratic right to vote and added that he believed that lots of South Africans believed that their vote symbolised the fact that democracy was alive in the country.

“I am thankful to De Klerk and Mandela for the constitution that we have today, which is there for each and everyone of us. A democracy is extremely important for socio-economic development and is a platform for economic rights and job creation.”

He added that he was full of hope for the country and believed that South Africans would make the right decision.

“There is a significant Cope presence in the province. We have travelled the length and breadth of the Northern Cape – we have been to the farms and the platteland areas – and we believe that the party will confound many critics. There are many who thought Cope was dead but they will be shocked when the results are announced.”

According to Dikgetsi, areas where the party was strong included Keimoes, Kakamas and Upington, as well as Kimberley and the John Taole district. “We are looking at obtaining 30 percent of the votes and we believe we will achieve this.”

He added that the party believed that the possibility of a hung parliament in the province was very real and said Cope would consider a coalition with other parties.

“We are happy to go into a coalition with parties that believe in constitutionality and the rule of law. We are emphatic though that we will not enter into a coalition with the ANC.”

Meanwhile a confident and excited DA premier candidate, Andrew Louw, voted at the Civic Centre in Stockroos Street.

“After months of hard work and much anticipation, Election Day has finally arrived and I could not be more excited to have proudly cast my ballots for the DA today,” Louw said as he excited the voting station, surrounded by cheering party members dressed in blue.

“The DA is the only party that has grown in every election since 1994 and I am confident that this year the DA will continue to experience unprecedented growth when the votes are tallied later tonight.”

He added that he was confident that thousands of Northern Cape citizens would vote, like he did, for change and jobs.

“In the past couple of months, the DA has painted this province blue. We have spread our message of job creation and rooting out corruption to the farthest corners. We have given hope to thousands of disillusioned citizens, who can’t get work and who continue to live in dire poverty, that their vote has the power to change things in the Northern Cape.”

He reminded voters that they were choosing their government for the next five years.

“Regardless of the outcome, the DA will be accountable to every voter whohas decided to make their cross next to the DA. A vote for the DA is a vote for change, is a vote against corruption and a vote for job creation. Do not waste this opportunity.”

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