JOHANNESBURG. – South Africa’s former presidents joined millions of other voters on Wednesday by exercising their democratic right to vote.
Former president Thabo Mbeki implored South Africans to think carefully about the election candidates and what they have to offer the country.
Mbeki spoke to the media after casting his vote in Parktown, Johannesburg.
“I think the important thing today is that everyone must go out to vote and that the voters must really apply their minds to this. In order to be able to choose, would require that we apply our mind as to what do these parties represent in terms of the future of the country.”
Mbeki also commended the IEC and the South African Police Service (SAPS) for removing an IEC deputy presiding officer from a voting station in Benoni after they allowed a party agent to assist in the transfer of special votes material.
“The IEC has acted in a very good way, in an important way, in terms of acting against those people who are working in the IEC who have clearly done something wrong.”
Other former presidents who cast their votes are FW de Klerk, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma.
De Klerk cast his vote in Sea point Cape Town where he told the media that if the ANC wins and Ramaphosa sticks to his promises, things will get better for the country.
“Everything is not dark in South Africa, there is light at the end of the tunnel, if the ANC wins and President Ramaphosa keeps his promises things will get better, ” De Klerk said.
Motlanthe said on Wednesday that the leaders of the ANC are “well aware that this is the last chance” to address issues within the party.
Speaking to the media while queuing to vote at the posh Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg, Motlanthe said he has “no doubt” that the “weaknesses” in the party will be attended to.
“The leadership of the ANC is well aware that this is the last chance. Therefore I have no doubt in my mind that soon after the elections, they will attend to all the weaknesses in the party,” he said.
Speaking about the possibility of entering into a coalition should the ANC not gain a majority in hotly-contested Gauteng, Motlanthe said it was “not part of the plan”.
“We didn’t campaign for that. We campaigned so that the ANC should get a clear majority in this province, so that wasn’t part of the plan. If it eventually happens, we will take it up from there – but for now, the ANC will win,” he said.
Motlanthe was surrounded by jubilant voters, who took the opportunity to greet the former president and take pictures with him.
He encouraged all South Africans to vote. “This right to vote came at a high price and so it’s a right that people should value and exercise,” he said.
“Those who vote will determine the future of this country. As long as you are going to be living in SA, it’s important to adopt the view that none but yourself can change the future of the establishment.”
Zuma cast his vote at the Ntolwane Primary School in eNkandla, where he told the media that political parties were not sticking to their policies when campaigning.
“Parties were not sticking to their policies to tell the voters this is what we are going to do for you in a serious sense expect sloganeering,” Zuma said. – eNCA/HR