AgriSA has called on South Africans to make their mark on Wednesday in the sixth general election described by many as the most important election since the historic first election in 1994.
Tomorrow at 07:00, 22 924 voting stations will open around the country in anticipation of the expected 26.7 million eligible voters – representing a 1.3 million increase in the number of people who registered to vote in 2014. According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the voters’ roll has shown steady growth of more than 47% since its inception ahead of the 1999 national and provincial elections.
AgriSA President Dan Kriek reminded South Africans that democracy was hard-earned. “Our democratic right and freedom to vote for a party of our choice wasn’t always guaranteed. We have to embrace and use this right that came with the advent of democracy in 1994 to further build our constitutional democracy.”
Kriek, a member of Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s land reform panel, says the agri-community will have to forge new relationships once the newly formed cabinet is announced following the elections. “Agri SA remains apolitical and will work with government to promote the interests of the entire agricultural sector. We do, however, encourage every South African to vote in the elections for the political party of their choice – that is our constitutional right.”
Furthermore, Kriek assured South Africans and the IEC that agricultural workers and others living on farms will be given an opportunity to vote. This follows a special call by Sy Mamabolo, the IEC’s Chief Electoral Officer, asking the sector to ensure the rights of agri-workers to freely participate in the elections.
Mamabolo said: “For as long as you are registered, you are entitled to do so and to vote in secret. We ask any person who is in a position of authority not to try and influence how people vote, but rather to work together to assist the farm workers to get to their voting stations and allow them to do so in secret and according to their political choices.”
Kriek earlier warned the nation against what he described as “radical and revolting statements” from politicians in the run-up to election day. “All political parties focused on the agricultural sector as well as the land reform debate in an effort to impress their voters. Bear in mind that the fifth parliament has already dissolved and that all processes are now in the hands of the sixth parliament. These processes include the expropriation without compensation debate. It is expected to resume from scratch.”
Is it a public holiday?
Yes, it is. Ramaphosa has earlier declared 8 May 2019 as a public holiday, meaning that you’ll have more than enough time to cast your vote and celebrate our hard-earned democracy with a lekker braai.
I’m not sure whether I’m actually registered to vote.
If you’ve previously voted, your name should still be on the voter’s roll. Check your voter registration status online. Alternatively, you can SMS your ID number to 32810 at a cost of R1 per SMS. You’ll receive your registration status, current voting station and ward number.
How do I vote in the elections?
Once you’ve confirmed your voter registration status and where your exact polling station is, you need to take your green ID, smartcard ID or a valid temporary identity certificate along. With this in hand, head over to your polling station where you will be assisted by IEC officials. You’ll receive two ballots (national and provincial), meaning you’ll get two votes. If, however, you are in a province outside of your ordinary residence address, you’ll only get a national ballot.
What time do voting stations open and close?
Voting stations open at 07:00 and close at 21:00 on 8 May 2019.
Can I vote if I lost my ID?
If you want to vote in the elections and you lost your ID, you’ll need to get a temporary identity certificate that will be valid on election day. You can apply for your TIC at the Department of Home Affairs, but remember that you’ll have to do this today as they’re closed on the public holiday.
Can I vote if I am not 18 yet?
No, you can only vote if you are registered to vote and you have already turned 18.
Can I vote on behalf of somebody else?
No, you are not allowed to vote on behalf of somebody else.
What happens if I am registered but choose not to vote?
It is not compulsory to vote in South Africa. However, it is viewed as a civic duty and everyone who is registered is encouraged to do so.