Elections kick-off with special votes

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pretoria- The 2011 municipal elections for those casting special votes began on Monday morning

"More than 200 000 South Africans will cast special votes today and tomorrow," Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) spokesperson Kate Bapela said on Monday.

The IEC, will today, give the opportunity to those who will not be able to cast their vote along with other South Africans on Wednesday.

Members of the South African Police Service who will be on duty on voting day, voting station staff, media, political party agents as well as voters who are housebound due to illness/infirmity, are hospitalised or deployed from home for work reasons, are among those who qualify for special votes.

Voting stations will open their doors at 8am and will remain open until 5pm.

Former President Nelson Mandela is among those who will cast a special vote. Mandela is due to vote at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.

"Having spoken to him, we know that he will vote. We of course know where his historical allegiance lies, but casting his vote is a private matter, just as it is for any other citizen of our country," the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement last week.

Home Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will also cast her vote today at the Newlands Clinic in Cape Town.

"This will enable Minister Dlamini Zuma to exercise oversight and monitor department operations on the day of elections, as South Africans go to the polls to exercise their democratic right to elect a government of their choice," said the department.

Former President Thabo Mbeki is also among those who will vote today.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Dr Brigalia Bam, will cast her special vote later this afternoon at Laerskool Lynnwood in Pretoria while Chief Electoral Officer Advocate Pansy Tlakula casts her vote at Orange Grove Primary School in Johannesburg.

Additionally those who are physically infirm or disabled will be visited by IEC staff today or tomorrow at home.

Voters wishing to check whether their application has been approved can visit the IEC website at www.elections.org.za and check under Special Votes Application Status by entering their ID number in the facility provided or they can SMS their ID number to 32711.