IEC ready for South Africans abroad to cast their votes

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The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it’s ready for South Africans abroad to cast their votes later this week.

This year saw a record number of registered voters abroad. South Africa is among the few countries on the continent that allows citizens abroad to participate in elections.

South African citizens will be voting at the country’s 111 foreign missions on Friday (17 May) and Saturday (18 May).

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor says it’s all systems go for those who will vote abroad on the 17th and 18th of May.

Over 78 000 citizens are expected to vote outside of the country at 111 diplomatic missions.

Some of the largest international voting stations are in London, UK, The Hague in the Netherlands, Canberra, Australia and Dubai in the UAE.

Several political parties say people must not forgo this opportunity to vote.

“Even those who are voting overseas next week, they must make sure all overseas voters vote for the [Economic Freedom Fighters] EFF…raise the red flag, vote for the EFF”, says EFF leader Julius Malema.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen says this is the moment for South Africans to exercise their right.

“Well, obviously we’re delighted that more people are going to be able to vote. We think it’s the right of every citizen regardless of where they are in the world to exercise their right to vote.”

The IEC is working with the International Relations and Co-operation Department and they have dispatched voting materials including voting booths, ballot boxes, stationery packs and the relevant lists of approved voters.

IEC deputy chief electoral officer Masego Sheburi says they will be opening voting stations in nine countries on the 17th of May.

Voting won’t take place in Sudan, Ukraine, and Israel as missions there remain closed due to conflict.

Sheburi says that the IEC wants the polls to go smoothly.

The electoral body further says after the voting process, the ballots will be transported through a secure channel back to the national office of the electoral commission for counting. The votes will be counted in the presence of agents representing contestants.