Western Cape voters flock to the polls

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It was a day with all hands on deck as Western Cape voters flocked to the polls. Some rumbles, fumbles, and grumbles. But overall, it was a good day for democracy.

“I want to start with a quote by Madiba: “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others,” says IEC Western Cape’s Michael Hendrickse.

In the Western Cape, voting mostly began at sunrise. Leaders of political parties and independent candidates cast their votes across the province. They all emphasized the imperatives of voting.

“If you don’t vote today, this country is going to go through the most difficult time in our democracy,” says Zackie Achmat, Independent Candidate.

“We appeal to all South Africans to exercise your democratic right that many died for, many sacrificed for,” says Naledi Pandor from ANC.

There were some glitches at voting stations, but the IEC assured South Africans still queuing to vote by 9 pm that they would be assisted.

Some elderly people say they’ve been voting since the first democratic elections in 1994. For them, the 2024 elections are critical.

“I am so excited to see all these people and I feel there’s going to be a change in this South Africa,” a voter said.

“When I like to speak of something that’s wrong, then I want to speak and I want to talk about it but if I am not voting, I don’t have the right to speak,” another voter said.

Many voters are young people under the age of 35 and some say they are voting for the first time.

“Before, I didn’t have hope because I saw similarities in the parties that I saw; so, I didn’t have hope before, but now I must give a chance to a new party,” another voter said.

Over the past three decades, South Africa’s constitutional democracy has faced enormous challenges, with many of its citizens grappling with rising poverty levels, unemployment, gender-based violence, corruption & crime, both in urban and rural areas.

And although the socio-economic climate remains cloudy for millions of South Africans, many remain hopeful that the sun will continue to shine on the country’s democracy.

Video: 2024 Elections – Final hours of voting in Cape Town