7 May 2014
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said there was no reason to jump the queue as he waited patiently for his turn to cast his vote in South Africa’s fifth democratic elections on Wednesday.
“There is no reason for anybody to jump the queue. We are all voting as citizens, and if I want to be at the head of the queue I should be here earliest. If there are people already queuing, there’s no basis for jumping the queue at all,” Motlanthe said after casting his vote at the Colbyn voting station in Pretoria.
Arriving shortly after 7 am to cast his vote at the station, located at the corner of Allcock and Glyn streets, the Deputy President joined the queue to cast his vote. Afterwards, he stood for a while chatting to Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) vice-chairperson Terry Tselane.
“Well it doesn’t make me feel any different in the sense that I will still be voting in the next elections, God willing,” he said on his retirement from government and Parliament this year.
He advised young people voting for the first time to consider the manifestos of the 29 registered parties appearing on the ballot when making their mark.
“We encourage everybody to really exercise their right to vote; we are all spoilt for choice. There are about 29 parties. I’m sure each South African can find a party which represents his or her interests.”
On his appraisal of the country’s last five years, Motlanthe said it had at times been “hectic”.
“As leader of government business, I’m the link between the executive and Parliament. There’s been lots of to-ing and fro-ing with regards to Bills that had to be processed in both houses, and of course lots of work outside that space of Parliament.
“I also had to do work with the South African Aids Council and the Human Resource Development Council. There’s been lots of work,” he said, speaking outside the voting station.
While he was stepping down from government and Parliament, he said he intended to continue to do work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The Colbyn voting station was a hub of activity early on election day, with the head of the African Union (AU) election observer mission and former president of Ghana, John Kufuor, visiting and getting a report of the voting process.
Kufuor commended the “calmness and orderliness” of the voting process.
First-time voter Blessing Nyathi said one’s vote was one’s voice in the country. “I’ve never voted before, so I came early to get it done,” the 30-year-old said.
The queue at the voting station comprised young and old. Among those who came with their young children was Giles Millard, who said that although democracy had its challenges, it was important to vote. “Well, it’s democracy, for all its faults. It’s probably the only system that allows for some form of representation. It’s the only real form of having your say,” he said after casting his vote.
Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille and United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa also cast their votes on Wednesday morning.
An upbeat Zille, dressed in purple, cast her vote in Cape Town. Like most politicians, she also waited patiently in the queue, and cast her vote after some 20 minutes.