Political parties want President Ramaphosa to announce election date soon

The first of two voter registration weekends is set for November 18 and 19. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

The first of two voter registration weekends is set for November 18 and 19. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 24, 2023


Political parties contesting the 2024 national and provincial elections (NPE 2024) have welcomed the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) strategies in place for a free and fair election, but have now upped the ante on President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce the election date.

The authority for setting the election date rests with the President of the Republic after consulting with the IEC. IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said at the launch of the 'Your Democracy, Own It' themed election on Tuesday, that while those consultations have commenced, they are yet to be concluded.

Secretary-General of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Marshall Dlamini told reporters that the country desperately needed new direction and new leadership and called on Ramaphosa to announce the date of the 2024 general elections by Wednesday.

“The ANC know the date, so we are left at a disadvantage. Cyril must give us the date tomorrow. We are ready to go to the polls,” Dlamini said.

When quizzed about the EFF’s action plan for contesting the elections, Dlamini said the party was not only focusing on some areas but on all nine provinces.

“There is no place that is not important to the EFF. We will not target specific areas for voters. The person in the Northern Cape is just as important as the person in Gauteng. Our manifesto is the people’s manifesto,” he said.

Also speaking on the sidelines of the IEC launch at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Velenkosini Hlabisa said he agreed with the IECs theme, as "indeed, it is our democracy, and we all have to own it”.

“The message is very clear to all people, especially to the almost 14 million unregistered people. You have to defend our democracy. Next year must be a turning point and a watershed moment for South Africa, as 2024 is the year to remove a government that has failed our country. The message is simple: if you are not satisfied and you don’t participate, the status quo will remain. Be part of the change; be part of the solution,” he said.

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen said they strongly believed the ANC was “in deep trouble” and encouraged voters to make their mark on the ballots.

“It will all come down to the voters. Political parties are the instrument for the people to effect change,” he said.

Steenhuisen said the Multi-Party Charter was a “credible path to victory”, and they were confident enough to add more parties to their grouping of eight currently.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald echoed Hlabisa’s sentiments. He encouraged people to register to vote and cast their ballots on the day soon to be decided.

“Our democracy is only as strong as the number of people who vote. The opposition parties have come together. There is no one single opposition party on its own that will be able to oust the ANC government, but if we take hands, we will,” he said.

Groenewald said this did mean the parties that joined the Multi-Party Charter would merge, but the coalition would be made formally after the election.

ActionSA’s Michael Beaumont said that despite only contesting in six municipalities in 2021, the party had their eyes set on contesting in all nine provinces and on the national ballot next year.

“We have been investing our time on the ground. We have proven as a party that we can win voters from the ANC,” he said.

ANC’s election campaign manager, Mdumiseni Ntuli, said that while the journey has not been without its challenges, the party was still confident the electorate’s support would be reaffirmed in next year’s election.

“This has been a very exciting period. This journey has not been one without challenges and difficulties. There have been moments of victory and success that inspired us, but there have also been setbacks. We are convinced that the work we have done as the ANC over the last three decades has given us massive experience and knowledge about governance and the challenges that face our people in South Africa.

“Nobody in this country except the ANC has acquired the necessary skills to govern,” he said.

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