Mbeki makes his mark

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
By: 
Bathandwa Mbola

Johannesburg - Former President Thabo Mbeki cast his vote, adding to the number of prominent South Africans, who came out in the cold weather to make their mark.

Excitement was mounting ahead of Mr Mbeki and his wife Zanele's arrival at the Holy Family Convent in Parktown, Johannesburg, to vote. The two were greeted and welcomed by hugs and hand shakes from fellow voters.

When Mr Mbeki was asked who he would vote for, he laughingly said: "I'm sure that question is unconstitutional."

He said only God knew who would win the elections, when he was asked to predict the outcome.

However, he thought that that the future of the country depended on the people voting according to their conscience.

Mr Mbeki said people should not vote out of fear but because of the commitment they have to the country.

He said he had watched the campaigns of political parties and found it to be "very interesting", however Mr Mbeki has kept a low profile since his recall by the African National Congress as President of the country last year.

IEC Chairperson, Brigalia Bam, and AU observer Salim Salim were also present at the polling station.

Presiding Electoral Officer, Reverend Ronald Harvey, who will manage the voting of the 2 411 people registered there, told a group of reporters at the station that he was very "excited."

Among the voters in the queue was actress Grethe Fox. "I never voted before 1994, but since '94 it has been incredibly exciting to vote for South Africa," she said.

Among other prominent South Africans to cast their votes are Nelson Mandela - the father of the nation - who will cast his ballot at the Killarney Country Club, Houghton Estate, shortly.

ANC President Jacob Zuma is expected to vote at the Ntolweni Primary School, Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

DA leader Helen Zille cast her vote this morning at St Paul's Church, Rondebosch, Cape Town.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille cast her vote at Pinelands Town Hall, Cape Town, while COPE President Mosiuoa Lekota voted at Oranje Meisieskool in Bloemfontein, Free State while his first and second deputies, Mbhazima Shilowa and Lynda Odendaal voted in Constantiakloof and Morningside respectively.

COPE presidential candidate Mvume Dandala has cast his vote in Midrand