Elections 2024: First hours of polling stations opening see thousands voting and political party leaders making their mark

Voting started at 7am on Wednesday. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Voting started at 7am on Wednesday. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published May 29, 2024


Voting stations opened at 7am around the country as South Africans gear up to vote in the seventh democratic elections on Wednesday, 30 years since the fall of apartheid.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) said some 26 million South Africans are registered to vote and are expected to make their mark today.

With some voting stations seeing queuing lines as young and old make their mark. With the youth coming out in numbers to let their vote count.

The network of 23,292 voting stations across the country opened at 7am and will be opened until 9pm. If you find yourself in the queues at 9pm, are eligible to vote but have not done so, the IEC said that you won’t be turned away and will be allowed to vote.

“It is important to emphasise that eligible voters who will be at the voting station at 9pm will be allowed to vote and not turned away,” the IEC said.

There have been no incidents of violence reported and for most of the country voting stations were off to a smooth start.

In Centurion, voting got off to a slow start at Wierda Independent School and by 7am, there were a handful of people that already gathered to wait in line in the chilly conditions with temperatures not yet above 10 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile in Durban, Pilot Reinhardt Hanel took to the skies to fly a giant South African flag across the City, hoping to encourage people to go out and vote.

Pilot Reinhardt Hanel has taken to the skies to fly a giant South African flag across the City, hoping to encourage people to go out and vote.

Speaking to IOL, he said he'll be flying the 400sqm flag from uMhlanga, across Durban.

Political leaders have lead by example as many of them have already made their mark by 10am.

President Cyril Ramaphosa cast his vote at the Chiawelo voting station in Soweto just after arriving just after 10am.

Ramaphosa said he was delighted to vote in the township he grew up in.

“This is the day when South Africans decide on the future of the country,” he said.

Ramaphosa said his voting experience was quick and said it was a “wonderful day”.

IOL is at Hitekani Primary School in Chiawelo, Soweto where ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has voted. He joins millions of South Africans who will cast their votes today.

Deputy President Paul Mashatile cast his vote at the St Johannes Lutheran Church in Kelvin, Sandton.

Police Minister Bheki Cele voted in Lamontville in Durban.

DA leader John Steenhuisen is expected to cast his vote at the Northwood High School in Durban North. Good leader and Tourism Minister Patricia De Lille voted in Cape Town.

DA Party Leader John Steenhuisen casts his vote at the Northwood High School in Durban.

Western Cape, Premier Alan Winde is expected to cast his vote at the Jan Van Riebeeck High School in Cape Town. Also in the Western Cape, Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton Mckenzie is expected to vote in Kraaifontein.

The IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa voted in Kwa Hlabisa.

Bosa leader Mmusi Maimane voted at the Dobsonville Presbyterian Church. ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba voted at the Sandton Fire Station.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the MK Party leader former president Jacob Zuma is expected to vote at the Ntolwane Primary School in Nkandla.

EFF leader Julius Malema will cast his vote in his Seshego home town, while his Deputy President Floyd Shivambu is expected to cast his vote in Mofolo, Soweto.

Earlier, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) said there was no headache on the interference of foreign governments or organisations in the elections.

In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika at the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s National Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand, chairperson of NatJoints, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili said the law enforcement apparatus in the country is ready and capable to deal with any threats – local or international.

“We do not have a panic as NatJoints to say here we are going to be facing a huge challenge in terms of interference,” Mosikili said.

“There are pockets of what you investigate (to check) if it is the correct information or not. Remember I said when we receive intelligence it first gets to be analysed and we get the product to say here we need to be alert, we need to look,” she said.

“We are having social media and cyber crime (unit) that is here at the ROC and we have the same capacity at out national joint intelligence structure where there intelligence communities are looking at cyber threats. Any information that will come from that space, any interference, any infiltration, we are looking at it so that we can respond accordingly and we deploy the necessary resources to such.”

The Eskom Se Push app just made a push alert just after 8.10am on election day to remind South Africans of “no load shedding”. It's been quite a streak, over 60 days without any blackouts.

Electoral Commission chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said on Tuesday: “Eskom has given assurances that there are no plans for scheduled maintenance work or load shedding in the period around voting day.

“Instances of power outages must be reported to Eskom in the normal course to enable effective responses”.

Going voting? Some important titbits to remember

You have to vote where you are registered. Unfortunately if you are on holiday or away from home, you will not be allowed to vote. Those who applied for special votes, voted on Monday and Tuesday.

“We reiterate that voters must vote where they are registered. The general rule in elections is that a person votes at a voting station where they have registered,” the IEC said.

“The only exception to the general rule is that a voter may vote outside of their registered voting district only after notifying the CEO. Notifications in this regard closed on May 17. Approximately 360,000 voters have been approved to vote outside their voting districts.”

Graphic: Kim Kay / IOL

When you get to the voting station, you will receive three ballot papers. Yes, you need to make your mark on all three.

Voters will receive the following ballot papers: the National Compensatory ballot, the National Regional ballot, and the Provincial Legislature ballot.

The National Compensatory ballot is the same across the county and it only features political parties contesting for seats in the National Assembly. The National Regional ballot is specific to your voting region and includes the candidates running for the National Assembly who represent your area. The Provincial Legislature ballot is unique to the province you reside in and will include parties and independent candidates competing for seats in your provincial legislature.

If you have not decided to vote, take this as your sign, go vote, because your vote matters.

Here are tips to survive voting day:

– Stay hydrated and warm.

– Pack some snacks.

– Carry along a book or your earphones to avoid getting bored.

– Make sure your cellphone is fully charged.

– Listen to IEC officials at your voting station.

– Don’t forget to carry your green barcode ID or smart ID card or temporary ID with you.