Voting at SA missions abroad to proceed

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pretoria - The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says it is satisfied that all necessary arrangements have been made for South Africans living abroad to vote in the 2014 General Elections.

“The department is satisfied that it has made the necessary information and infrastructure available for the IEC to carry out its constitutional mandate of managing the electoral process,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

This follows media reports regarding concerns that South Africans abroad had not been adequately informed of the process to apply for overseas votes.

“The department has at all times, and with the requisite urgency, disseminated information from the IEC regarding the conduct of elections to all our missions for further dissemination to South African citizens. We are encouraged that South Africans living abroad have responded in large numbers and will be voting on 30 April 2014,” it said.

Following the Presidential assent to the Electoral Amendment Act No. 18 of 2013 and the publication of amendments to the Regulations on the Registration of Voters, the department collaborated with the IEC to register South Africans living outside of the country as voters.

Chapter 3 of the election regulations, dealing with special votes, has been revised to accommodate voting by South African citizens abroad.

It requires registered voters, who will not be in South Africa on Election Day (including those who registered outside of the country), to notify the Chief Electoral Officer of the IEC of their intention to apply to cast their ballot at a South African diplomatic mission.

“Notifications of intention to apply for a special vote are made online via the IEC’s website (www.elections.gov.za) using a VEC10 form which has been available since the President of the Republic proclaimed the election date as per the law. Online applications should have been made within 15 days of the proclamation,” said the department.

It added that the information had been previously communicated jointly by the IEC and DIRCO in a statement issued on the 7th of January 2014 (http://www.dirco.gov.za/docs/2014/iec0107.html).

Earlier in the day, the IEC said more than 26 000 voters had applied successfully to cast their ballots at 116 missions around the world.

Voting stations in 123 locales have reported their readiness for voting in the national elections, having received all the relevant materials and training.

South Africans living in New Zealand would be the first to cast their votes at 9pm South African time as voting abroad begins. The final votes will be cast in Los Angeles [USA], where polls will close at 6am South African time on Thursday.

The voting stations with the largest number of people are: London (9 863); Dubai (1 539); Canberra (1 243); Kinshasa (773); The Hague (667); New York (604); Doha (557); Dublin (466) and Khartoum (458).

Once voting is completed, the ballots from each voting station will be collected in secure, sealed bags and transported to Pretoria, where they will be counted for inclusion in the national results. – SAnews.gov.za

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