As South Africans today head to the polls to cast their vote in the sixth General Elections, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) has wished the country a safe and peaceful voting day.
"The SACCI wishes South Africans a safe and peaceful voting day, as they exercise their constitutional right to choose their preferred political leaders through a secret ballot," said SACCI Chief Executive Officer Alan Mukoki.
This as 26.7 million registered voters across the country are expected to make their "X" at the 22 924 voting stations set up for this purpose.
Mukoki applauded the peaceful and cordial manner in which contesting political parties and their supporters have conducted themselves in their campaigns for votes.
"Despite robust debates, aggressive campaigning and sharp differences on many political and other points, the parties have been civil to one another. This tolerance of differences of political views, opinions and beliefs, is indicative of the high state of maturity, discipline and respect for democratic and constitutional rights among parties and is most welcome and encouraging," he said.
A total, 48 political parties are contesting today's elections that are being held 25 years after South Africans of all races first voted in 1994.
"The registration of more than 40 political parties to contest the elections is landmark and is testimony to the robustness and vitality of the South African democratic state.
"The peaceful election campaign environment has enabled all parties contesting the elections to clearly and fairly state their manifestos and campaigns to voters and the public. This in itself is good for business and investor confidence as one of the key elements in a constitutional democracy where free and fair elections are held," he said.
SACCI wished all parties contesting the elections well.
The chamber was heartened by the fact that almost all contesting political parties "have elevated the issue of economic growth, job creation, crime, fixing the issue of social injustice and inequality at the centre of their political promises".
This, it said, bodes well for the future of a democratic state.
Today's voting day follows on two days of special voting that got underway on Monday. Among those who cast their vote on Monday were Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Cast your vote
On Tuesday, the Electoral Commission (IEC) which is administering the elections, called on registered voters to have their say by casting their votes.
Voting stations open at 7am and will close at 9pm tonight. However, all voters who are in the queue to vote at 9pm will be allowed to vote.
Voting Day has been declared a public holiday, with Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant appealing to employers to allow workers to exercise their democratic rights through voting.