South Africa: IEC Calls for Calm As Voting Begins On Monday

The Electoral Commission of South Africa's Twitter page on May 6, 2019.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has appealed for a reduction in political activities to allow space for voting to take place peacefully.

This as 22 924 voting stations will open from Monday until Wednesday, when all citizens will be heading to the polls. Special votes will be cast on Monday and Tuesday.

"At all times any hindrance or obstructions in the work of the Commission in the exercising of its duties is prohibited. The Electoral Act (73 of 1997) also specifically prohibits political meetings, marches, demonstrations or any other political event taking place on voting day," IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said in a statement on Sunday.

The act also prohibits strikes and lockouts in the public transport and telecommunications sectors.

"While strictly speaking this applies only to Wednesday 8 May, voting will be taking place at voting stations and through home visits on Monday and Tuesday when we expect over 770 000 voters to cast their ballots," Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo added.

Mamabolo said the time for robust campaigning has ended and now was the time for voting. He urged that voters be given time and space to consider their options in peace.

The Commission has also urged communities not to engage in any civil unrest, protests or demonstrations which may impact on electoral operations.

"We have engaged with the security agencies including the South African Police Services to ensure that no disruptions to the elections are tolerated," Mamabolo said.

Employers have also been reminded to allow employees to exercise their constitutional rights to vote, especially those in the mining, agriculture, retail and tourism industries.

"The declaration of Election Day as a public holiday is to ensure every voter has the opportunity to exercise their right to vote and this takes priority over any business activities this week," Mamabolo said.

He said the Minister for Social Development Susan Shabangu has also assured that grant payments will be made as scheduled on Monday and Tuesday.

Special voting takes place on Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 to 17:00 and voting on election day, May 8, will take place from 7:00 to 21:00.

Source: News24

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