As South Africans living abroad prepare to cast their votes on Saturday, the International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has urged South Africans abroad to vote on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of South Africans abroad – mostly in London in the UK – are expected to cast their ballots on Saturday.

This comes as major political parties continue their campaigning ahead of the general elections – which will take place in South Africa on 8 May.

Sisulu has urged South Africans around the world who have registered to vote to make their mark.

The Electoral Commission (IEC) says South Africans residing in New Zealand will be the first to mark their ballot papers. The majority of registered voters reside in London.

IEC’s Chief electoral officer, Sy Mamabolo, says “29 000 of them have indicated their wish to vote abroad. All nations have confirmed their readiness – all logistics and ballot papers have been received. Auckland in New Zealand is the first station where voting will happen tomorrow. The most registered people are in London. They will be voting at the mission there. London has 9000-odd people and Dubai with 1500 and then the Netherlands at 1300.”

It’s 11 days until people head to the polls in South Africa. The African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have voiced confidence that their parties will do well in the polls.

The ANC’s Pule Mabe says people now have more confidence in the party.

“We can tell you now, as demonstrated by the polls and the work that we have been doing led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, there seems to be a greater acceptance of the ANC’s notion of a growing SA. You see it throughout all provinces.”

The DA’s Mike Moriarty has expressed the significance of votes from citizens living abroad.

“The importance of these votes is not the proportion that it brings to South Africa’s overall tally of votes, it is how much is that important to that South African abroad – there it is 100%. Why do I say this? It is because these folks are putting a stake in the ground that is South African and they are not only potentially very imminently contributing skills and experience that we need but also remittances from abroad,” says Moriarty.

Meanwhile, the EFF says they have been inspiring people abroad to support their party. The EFF’s Mandisa Mashego says, “We’ve been assisting out citizens, not just in SA, we’ve inspired other Africans to form EFF-like organisations across Africa – 7 countries so far. But also we are assisting out constituencies because we are in a digital world and we are very reachable and accessible through social media.”