by Makwena Manaka
Wednesday, 8 May 2019, will be a public holiday to allow everyone the opportunity to vote. Although voting is not compulsory for the many registered voters in South Africa, it is an important civic duty that forms part of our democracy.
Whether it is your first time voting or not, Activate Online has compiled a list of steps that may help you with Wednesday’s process:
● You must be a registered voter in South Africa to vote. To confirm that your name is on the voters' roll, and to find out which voting station you're registered at, check your voter registration status online or SMS your ID number to 32810.
● To find a voting station on a map, check out the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) online voting station finder.
● You must vote between at 7.00am and 9.00pm, but all voters in the queue by the 9.00pm cut-off will be allowed to vote.
● Voting may take a long time, so it is advised to take along a bottle of water to keep hydrated.
● The voting station at which you have registered is the voting station you must use on the day, unless you are outside your voting district on Voting Day. If you are outside the province in which you are registered, you'll only be able to vote in the national election and not the provincial election, and will have to fill in a VEC 4 form at the voting station.
● You must show your green, bar-coded, South African ID book, or a valid Temporary Identification Certificate (TIC), to the voting officer. You can apply for a TIC at the Department of Home Affairs.
● You should have a registration sticker on your ID. However, if you do not, and your name is on the voters’ roll, you may still vote. In this case, you must first fill in a VEC4 form (national elections) or MEC7 form (municipal elections).
● You must only vote once on the national ballot, and once on the provincial ballot.
● There will be clear instructions given by signs or officers, which you must do your best to follow, to ensure the process is smooth and takes as little time as possible.
If you are struggling to decide which party to vote for, you are one among many - and that’s okay. There is a helpful quiz on News24 that will point out which political parties align with your interests. That said, do not let this influence your vote entirely. You should be sure that who you’re voting for is the best for your country, and no agency, third-party or friend should decide that for you.