With Voting Day well underway, government has welcomed the smooth start to the 2019 National and Provincial Elections.
In a statement on Wednesday, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said with the millions of South Africans having already cast their vote, is an affirmation of a strong and vibrant democracy.
“We are encouraged that apart from a few exceptions, voting stations around the country started on time, and issues are being addressed as they arise.
“The South African Police Service [SAPS], supported by the South African National Defence Force [SANDF] and Metro Police Officers are deployed throughout the country. We commend them for their hard work and dedication,” said the GCIS.
At a media briefing shortly after midday, the Electoral Commission [IEC] updated the nation on voting that got underway at 7am across the country.
The Commission highlighted the high turnout of registered voters who came to cast their vote in the National and Provincial Elections.
Government said the vibrant atmosphere at voting stations across the country, is encouraging.
“We are confident that these elections will build on our history of holding regular, peaceful, and free and fair elections.”
In addition, government joined the IEC, in encouraging South Africans to keep making their way to voting stations throughout the day and in commending voters for the dignity and patience with which they are conducting themselves.
As part of the control measures of the election process, every ballot paper has to have a validation stamp at the back. Voters are encouraged to ensure that their national and provincial ballot is stamped.
Government also sent its condolences to the families of those who have since passed on.
“Government wishes to convey our deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones of the IEC official who passed away last night, and of the 67-year-old man who died in Tshwane while making his way to a voting station.
“We also wish to express condolences to the IFP after one of their members passed away in a car crash in KwaZulu-Natal,” said the GCIS.
Government urged elderly voters to approach electoral officers at their voting stations so that they can be ushered to the front of the queue.
“To avoid medical emergencies, voters joining queues are advised to take precautions such as drinking water to remain hydrated and should take their prescription medicines.”
As voting continues, government reminded citizens that all Home Affairs offices are open today until 9pm to assist citizens with the necessary documents for voting.
Meanwhile, the department has confirmed that the total number of temporary IDs issued between 6 May 2019 and midday today was standing at 14 292.
Voters can call the Home Affairs on 0800 6011 90 toll free for more information.
Make your “X”
Government reiterated its call that even though voting stations are open until 9pm, voters should take advantage of this public holiday to visit voting stations earlier and throughout the day to avoid bottlenecks near closing time.
South Africans who have not yet voted were encouraged to make their way to their voting stations.
GCIS acting Director-General Phumla Williams encouraged all South Africans to go and cast their vote.
“Government encourages all South Africans, especially young and first-time voters, to exercise their democratic right to vote. We call on all South Africans to honour our history and continue to strengthen the legitimacy of our democracy.”