Sisulu casts her vote despite freezing weather

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Johannesburg - Even the icy weather conditions in Johannesburg could not stop a determined Albertina Sisulu from casting her special vote on Tuesday.

After casting her ballot, the 91-year-old struggle veteran, who arrived at the voting station in Linden High School, said she felt great to cast her vote and she hoped that South Africans will go out in their numbers to vote tomorrow.

"I feel great to cast my special vote for the fourth democratic elections. Today, I am just setting an example to young people to go out in large numbers to vote tomorrow as I will be watching them on television while sitting at home," she said.

The inspirational leader and wife of the late African National Congress (ANC) veteran, Walter Sisulu, arrived at the voting station on her wheelchair.

Ms Sisulu, who was accompanied by Deputy President Baleka Mbete, told reporters she was happy to have voted for her favorite party to lead South Africa.

Ms Mbete said anti-apartheid veterans such as former President Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu are valuable members of society who brought the possibility to South Africans to vote.

"If it was not for their sacrifice, as a nation, we would not be going to the polls on Wednesday. As a nation, we ought to value and defend what they have fought for by going out in large numbers to the voting stations to vote," she said.

The Deputy President said that she will cast her vote with thousands of South Africans in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The Independent Electoral Commission had set aside Monday and Tuesday for special votes for those who qualify, including voters with physical disabilities, pregnant women, those absent on government service abroad, as well as election officials and security force members on election duty.

Meanwhile, in Pretoria, Harold Edward, who turns 68 on Wednesday, was among the South Africans who also qualified for a special vote because of ill health and a disability.

"I have been looking forward to this moment. I woke very early in the morning and waited to be brought here to cast my vote for a better South Africa for all," he said with excitement, outside Pretoria City Hall.

He said it was the fourth time he had voted. "I must vote, it is my right to vote," he said.

The IEC has said it is all systems go for registered South Africans to cast their votes on Wednesday.

The special votes will be counted on Election Day with the votes cast at the voting station.