Ramaphosa Announces May 29 As Pivotal 2024 Elections Date

The IEC Briefs the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa on the 2024 National and Provincial Elections. Photo: IEC

It’s official! South African voters will be heading to the much-anticipated 2024 polls on May 29, which will be a Wednesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa officially set the date for the country’s upcoming general elections on Tuesday night, February 20, 2024, marking a crucial moment in South Africa’s democratic journey.

The announcement follows mounting pressure from opposition parties and citizens alike, eager to exercise their right to vote.

This year’s elections coincide with the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s liberation from apartheid, lending additional significance to the elections.

While the ruling African National Congress (ANC) faces potential challenges to its long-held majority, various opposition parties have expressed their readiness to contest the polls.

Leaders from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), African Transformation Movement (ATM), United Democratic Movement (UDM), and Democratic Alliance (DA), among others, all issued statements highlighting their commitment to democratic principles and offering alternative visions for the country.

This election presents a critical opportunity for South Africans to reflect on their past, assess the present, and determine the course of their nation’s future.

Prior to the unveiling of the May 29 date, Ramaphosa faced significant backlash for delaying the announcement, as opposition parties and social media users were eager to participate in the event dubbed “Our 1994.”

The May 29th date was suddenly revealed after a recording circulated in which Ramaphosa’s deputy, Paul Mashatile, was heard mentioning that South Africans would be voting on May 25, 2024.

The IFP was one of the initial parties to object to the chosen date, citing concerns that it fell on a weekend, potentially hindering voter turnout. IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa accused Ramaphosa of trying to discourage voters in order for the governing ANC to benefit from low voter turnout.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering e keynote address at the party’s 112-anniversary celebrations.

On Tuesday evening, Vincent Magwenya issued a statement on behalf of the presidency, putting an end to the speculations and allegations.

“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,” he said.

Magwenya added that the 2024 elections coincide with South Africa’s celebration of 30 years of freedom and democracy.

Ramaphosa called on all eligible voters to fully participate in the elections.

“Beyond the fulfillment 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. We also urge unregistered voters to use the online registration platform to register,” said Ramaphosa. 

IFP’s Hlengwa said the party welcomed the date.

“The IFP views 29 May 2024 as a day of freedom for the country, to finally free itself from the clutches of an ANC government that has only delivered poverty, unemployment, underdevelopment, and widespread corruption,” he said.

ATM leader Vuyo Zungula said his party welcomes this announcement with great readiness

ATM leader Vuyo Zungula highlighted that the release of the date provides South Africans with an opportunity to compare their manifesto with their aspirations for the future. 

“As a party deeply committed to fostering positive change and progress across our beloved nation, the ATM welcomes this announcement with great readiness. It aligns seamlessly with our steadfast dedication to upholding democratic principles and ensuring a fair and inclusive electoral landscape for all South Africans. It is with satisfaction that ATM reflects on the successful launch of our manifesto on December 1st, 2023.

“This momentous occasion epitomized our unwavering commitment to advocating for transformative policies that prioritize the well-being and prosperity of every citizen. Our manifesto represents a comprehensive blueprint for sustainable development, encompassing key initiatives aimed at addressing pressing socio-economic challenges and propelling our nation towards a brighter future,” Zungula said.

Yongama Zigebe, the secretary-general of UDM, urged South Africans to seize the election date as an opportunity to transform their own lives. 

“At this historic crossroads, South Africans wield the power to shape their destiny and forge a path toward a brighter tomorrow. The UDM emerges as a harbinger of optimism amidst the prevailing uncertainty—a political entity steadfastly committed to bridging the chasm between the governed and the governing. We pledge to usher in an era characterized by a restoration of power to the grassroots, ensuring that the voices of ordinary citizens resonate within the hallowed halls of governance,” said Zigebe.

DA leader John Steenhuisen emphasized the need to put an end to the ANC’s 30 years of shortcomings.

“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 Africa can win. The DA has meticulously prepared for this historic election, with support levels currently at their highest ever. Our army of election volunteers, activists, and supporters is poised to build upon months of hard work across every town and city in South Africa,” said Steenhuisen.



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