Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has joined many other South Africans in casting their special votes.
Former President Thabo Mbeki is also expected to cast his vote at his home today.
After casting her vote, Premier Mokonyane said she felt happy that she has done what she has been waiting for. “I’m happy that I have cast my vote.”
Speaking to SAnews, the Presiding Officer at the voting station, Lesego Seitlhamo, said they are expecting about 40 people to cast their votes today.
At the time, the Premier had cast her vote, 11 people had already cast their votes.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), people who registered for special votes, but could not cast their votes, will still be allowed to vote at their local voting stations if they can be transported there.
On Monday, IEC Chairperson Aocate Pansy Tlakula said the start of special votes at voting stations and home visits had been a good systems and readiness check which had gone very well.
“Just under 400 000 voters had successfully informed the Chief Electoral Officer of their intention to cast a special vote today and tomorrow – either at their voting station or by being visited by election officials in the case of voters who are disabled, pregnant or ill,” she said.
She was briefing reporters at the IEC’s first press conference for the 2014 General Elections at the Results Operations Centre in Pretoria.
“Special voting was taking place in all but 3 593 of the country’s voting districts where no special votes had been applied for. This provided a very good ‘dry run’ and systems check for Wednesday,” said Tlakula said.
Disruptions of special votes
She said only minor instances of primarily logistical issues were reported during the day, such as high winds along the eastern seaboard in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, which had blown over tents erected as temporary voting stations overnight.
However, she said the tents had been re-erected today. “Other incidents reported included the delayed opening of isolated voting stations due to delays of material deliveries, staff arrivals and some difficulties in gaining access to premises.
“There were some isolated incidents of community protest action which were reported to the security structures and SA Police Service had been deployed in these areas to monitor the situation and to ensure the security of the voting process,” she said.
With regard to the torched community hall in the troubled Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, the IEC chairperson said the torched facility was not the one they were using as a voting station.
The police have deployed a high-level team to track down and bring the perpetrators to book. Community members are urged to remain calm and look forward to cast their votes on Wednesday, 7 May 2014.
There are security plans currently under implementation to ensure that all voting stations, related material, deployed personnel and the public are secured.
The 2014 general election holds a special significance for South Africans, as the year marks the celebration of 20 Years of Freedom since the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994.
South Africans will use the celebrations to reflect on the journey travelled since 1994 in transforming the country and addressing socio-economic challenges inherited at the time, and on how the nation will work together towards Vision 2030.
This year, South Africans born after the first democratic elections in 1994 are eligible to vote for the first time.
Source : SAnews.gov.za