Prominent South Africans cast their votes

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cape Town - Several prominent South Africans have already cast their votes in the country's fourth democratic elections.

Accompanied by her husband and two sons, Helen Zille cast her vote at St Paul's Church in Rondebosch shortly after 8am this morning.

Voting in South Africa's 2009 General Election kicked off at 7am.

With a tap of the box to ensure her ballot was in, the Mayor of Cape Town and leader of the Democratic Alliance cast her vote.

Ms Zille, who was dressed in a royal blue jacket which is the colour of her party, is hoping to get the premiership of the Western Cape Province.

As she stood in the queue for a short time ahead of casting her vote, she was all smiles and joked with the election officials at the voting station.

Ms Zille said she was confident of her party's success. "I am here to vote to win."

She added that the number of youths voting was inspiring and it was good to see youngsters taking responsibility and coming out to vote.

While the church was abuzz with activity from early this morning, queues picked up considerably after students from the nearby University of Cape Town arrived.

Deputy President Baleka Mbete is expected to cast her vote at 9.30am at Westerford School, while Former President FW de Klerk is expected to cast his vote in Sea Point at around 11.30.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel cast his vote much earlier this morning.

In KwaZulu-Natal, African National Congress President Jacob Zuma is expected to cast his vote in his hometown of Nkandla around 11am.

Accompanied by his wife, Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, cast his vote in Mahlabathini.

In Gauteng, President Kgalema Motlanthe cast his vote shortly after 7am in Pretoria.

After casting his vote, the President appealed to South Africans to vote in the country's fourth democratic election.

"You can't improve any situation by staying away from it. If you have a vote and you don't use it, it will take five years [until the next election]," he told media at the Colbin voting station.

The President said he hoped the voting process would go smoothly countrywide despite the cold weather predicted in some areas.

Describing his voting experience, Mr Motlanthe said: "It wasn't painful, I must say. It was simple and straightforward."

Just a short while ago, former President Thabo Mbeki cast his vote in Saxonwold.

Speaking after casting his vote, he said voters had to vote according to the commitment of the type of South Africa they wanted to build for the future.

Meanwhile, Congress of the People (COPE) presidential candidate Mvume Dandala has cast his vote in Midrand and COPE President Mosiuoa Lekota cast his vote at Oranje Meisies Skool in Bloemfontein.

Former President Nelson Mandela is expected to cast his vote in Houghton, Johannesburg, at around 11am.

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