Those who don’t vote have no say and can’t complain about not getting services from government, says Maureen Valsecchi of Dainfern in Johannesburg.
Valsecchi and her husband, Phillip, spoke toSAnews on a chilly Monday morning on their way to the voting station at Dainfern College, in Fourways.
Monday, 1 August, is the first day for South Africans who applied for special votes to cast their votes for the 2016 Local Government Elections. Those who registered for special votes have until tomorrow to exercise their right to vote, as everybody else will be voting on Wednesday, 3 August.
Valsecchi said voting is very important because she needs to have a say in how the country is governed.
“If one does not vote, they actually have no say and cannot complain if they don’t get what they want. We knew that we would not be able to vote on 3 August so we applied for special votes,” she said, illustrating how seriously she takes elections.
She said she and her husband encourage their children to vote and they are all registered to vote, which they will do on Wednesday.
However, Valsecchi was not convinced that youth take elections seriously or understand the importance thereof.
“I think it is up to the parents to encourage them and tell them why they need to vote,” she said.
For his part, Phillip’s main concern is that elections are run in a free and fair manner.
The couple voted just before Electoral Commission Chairperson Glen Mashinini cast his vote in Dainfern.
After casting his vote, Mashinini called on all South Africans to do the right thing and exercise their right to vote.
He said as the country marks 22 years of democracy, the IEC is prepared once more to allow registered voters to exercise their constitutional right.
“Today, those special voters who have applied will be allowed to vote throughout the country. [IEC officials will attend to] people who need home visits, ensuring that they do exercise their constitutional rights.
“Our democracy is something that we have to cherish. It is something that we have to keep for our prosperity. We are appealing to everybody to cast their vote peacefully. We are appealing to everybody to celebrate this day,” said Mashinini.
He thanked the IEC for arranging special votes for more than a quarter of a million South Africans who will not be able to visit voting stations on Wednesday.
719 222 special votes were granted to eligible voters who applied, and they are expected to vote on Monday and Tuesday. The IEC said this number is three times that of 2011.
“These applications include 315 597 (44%) home visits. The special vote process will also provide the commission an opportunity to test its system ahead of the elections on 3 August,” said the IEC.
Come Wednesday evening, a total of 26 333 3535 million voters on the voters’ roll would have hopefully cast their votes. The IEC said this is approximately 77% of the eligible voting population.
There are about 22 612 voting stations across the country, 204 political parties contesting these elections, 63 654 candidates, 855 independent candidates and 4 649 unique ballot papers.
Source: Business Tech