President Cyril Ramaphosa finally announces date for crucial poll

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced May 29 as the date South Africans will be heading to the polls. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced May 29 as the date South Africans will be heading to the polls. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 21, 2024


The countdown to elections officially began last night after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced May 29 as the date South Africans will be heading to the polls.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has, in accordance with section 49(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, read with section 17 of the Electoral Act of 1998, determined 29 May 2024, as the date for the 2024 General National and Provincial elections. The president has also in line with section 17(2) of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998, consulted with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on the election date. Furthermore, the president convened a meeting with all nine Provincial Premiers and the IEC to discuss the state of readiness for the general elections,” said presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.

While the proclamation to declare the date will be issued in due course, Ramaphosa urged unregistered voters to use the online registration platform to register.

“Beyond the fulfilment of our constitutional obligation, these upcoming elections are also a celebration of our democratic journey and a determination of the future that we all desire. I call on all South Africans to exercise their democratic right to vote and for those who will be campaigning to do so peacefully, within the full observance of the law,” said Ramaphosa.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said his party welcomed the announcement leading to a historic moment where South Africa has the opportunity to rescue itself from 30 years of ANC failure, corruption, and state capture.

“This election is a turning point for South Africa, and it comes at a time when our nation needs it the most in three decades. The DA is fully prepared for the challenge ahead, and we are all-systems-go for the May 29 date. The DA is ready to fight this election, so South African can win.”

In a statement last night, the EFF said May 29 marks an opportunity for South Africa to achieve true freedom, which at the centre of it is economic freedom.

Good Party secretary general Brett Herron posted on social media platform X that his party was “looking forward to competing in our second National & Provincial elections and we’re relieved to know when that will be. South Africans who are not registered to vote can still do so online.”

ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont said: “ActionSA’s campaign will strive to show all South Africans that we can fix South Africa but that this work can only begin once the ANC is removed from office. ActionSA is the party that will achieve this.”

Policy analyst and researcher Nkosikhulule Nyembezi said the announcement’s timing will give relevant key stakeholders time to participate in the preparations.

“This is not just because South Africa needs a new government, although it does, but because, as voters, we should not be condemned to a protracted election campaign that the Sona events have so obviously signalled. The country seems to know its own mind. It will soon be time to bring it on in these elections, for all our sakes. No one who watched the Sona and its debate last week could doubt that the major parties are now in full election mode. Ramaphosa’s announcements were a classic pre-election ‘appreciate the present, hope for a better tomorrow’ package aimed at seducing voters and embarrassing the opposition. There is likely to be more of the same in the budget speech.”

Maybe it is the May 29 goalpost that will keep election campaigns civil, he said.

“Amid the shouting of the major parties, the rival pitches of small parties are familiar. Opposition parties are now in an election battle formation of their own, too, with the EFF boycotting Sona.”

Cape Times