South Africa: Pandor Urges Youth to Go Vote in Their Numbers

Voting day in the 2014 general election, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor says she hopes young people will come out in their numbers to vote today in order to determine the future of South Africa.

Pandor said this shortly after casting her vote at the Claremont Primary School on Wednesday morning.

"Should the ANC get a majority on Saturday, with the results being announced, I will just be an ordinary MP.

"But I am hoping that today, we will see a majority of students who are registered coming out to vote. I know some are writing tests, they are studying ... exams start next week but I'm hoping the youth will show South Africa that indeed they want to have a stake in determining who governs our country," she said.

While voting stations around the country allowed people in to vote at 7am, Pandor was among the first few Claremont residents who queued up outside the entrance a few minutes before the Claremont station opened.

Despite the early morning drizzle, residents patiently stood in the line with their umbrellas and raincoats until they were allowed in by IEC volunteers.

Another resident, Findlay Peake, said it was important to vote as the country's future lay in the hands of those making their mark today.

"Our future lies in the hands of the people that are making their mark this morning. It is important that we focus and that we do the right thing for all of us," he said.

Another local resident, who identified herself as Katharine, said everybody should get out of their houses and go vote.

"It is important to vote if you want things in life and things in the country that are the best for your country," she said.

Ahead of casting her vote, Pandor said it is vital that all citizens that are registered to vote participate in strengthening the country's democracy, and that it is important that any government that is elected into office is voted in by the majority of all South Africans.

"I think participating in elections is a critically important part of deciding what it is we want to see done in the country, who you wish to govern and the kind of perspective you would like our country to adopt as its development trajectory.

"You, by voting, shape the future of South Africa so I think not to vote is irresponsible. If you have the right to vote, which is a hard-won right, but it is an important determinant of South Africa's future and its policy action," she said.

Meanwhile, Patricia De Lille, leader of the Good party, in Cape Town, also cast her vote at Pinelands Primary School this morning.

She encouraged people to go out and vote despite the cold and rainy weather.

"I'm voting early so I can spend the rest of the day helping others get to their stations. Get out your raincoats and umbrellas (orange preferred). Weather doesn't stop good people exercising their rights and opinions. Vote to fix South Africa for good," De Lille said.

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe and Gugu Mtshali have also cast their vote in Killarney, Johannesburg. Motlanthe said this was the sixth time he has cast his vote. He is happy there are more parties contesting these elections as it shows faith in the system.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has also cast his vote at the Presbyterian Church in Dobsenville, Soweto. Casting his vote, the opposition leader said it was important for every registered South African voter to exercise their right and vote.

Economic Freedom Fighter Deputy President Floyd Shivambu, who expressed satisfaction at the voter turnout, has also cast his vote at the Moses Kotane Primary School, in Soweto.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his spouse, Dr Tshepo Motsepe, are due to cast their votes at Hitekani Primary School, Chiawelo, Soweto, at 11am.

President Ramaphosa spent his early life in Soweto and is registered to vote in Chiawelo.

President Ramaphosa has once more encouraged eligible voters to go out in their numbers to participate in the sixth democratic national and provincial elections.

Underscoring his message to this effect in the 2019 State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa said: "As part of our celebration of 25 years of freedom and democracy, this election is an important milestone in our development as a nation and it is our duty as citizens to exercise our hard-won right to determine the direction in which the country moves. Our vote ensures that our democracy remains vibrant and inclusive."

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