Sun. May 19th, 2024

With South Africa’s national election on the horizon, citizens living abroad are gearing up to exercise their democratic rights, albeit with logistical disparities compared to their counterparts at home who will cast their votes on the election day.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has unveiled plans for South Africans residing overseas to vote at designated diplomatic missions worldwide, typically 10 days prior to the general election date.

Confirming the enrollment of 78,092 citizens to vote from abroad, the IEC affirms their eligibility to participate in South Africa‚Äôs 2024 national elections. Voting outside the country will occur across 111 foreign missions. This decision marks a significant stride toward inclusivity, ensuring every eligible South African has a voice in shaping the nation’s future.

The early voting period for South Africans abroad is set to commence on May 17 and 18, preceding the national elections scheduled for May 29.

IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo emphasized, “The extended voting period not only provides expatriates with ample time to cast their vote but also allows for unforeseen delays or complications that may arise during the voting process.”

Voting abroad will take place on Friday, May 17, in nine countries, while the remaining countries will vote on Saturday, May 18.

South Africans residing abroad will engage in the electoral process through designated voting missions like Algiers, Amman, Cairo, Damascus, Kuwait City, Jeddah, Ramallah, Riyadh, and Tehran on Friday, May 17, from 7 am to 7 pm. The rest of the 102 missions will open for special votes on Saturday, May 18, during the same hours.

Regarding the mission in the United Kingdom, the commission has allocated two days of special voting on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, from 7 am to 9 pm. Additionally, extended voting hours have been designated for Washington DC and New York missions, from 7 am to 9 pm.

In collaboration with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), Mamabolo stated, “The electoral commission has initiated the process of shipping voting packages, with material departing the country and colleagues confirming receipt to facilitate voting.”

After voting concludes at the missions, packages will be returned to South Africa via a diplomatic process with Dirco by 9 pm on May 29, ensuring inclusion in the counting process.

The electoral commission will operate extended hours on both voting days abroad to address voter queries.

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