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Elections begin at voting stations abroad, London set to draw biggest crowd

by Zahid Jadwat

South Africans abroad kick off the 2024 national and provincial elections this weekend. [Picture: St Albert Gazette]


From Saudi Arabia to Australia, over to the United Kingdom and beyond, expatriates will kick off South Africa’s seventh democratic election this weekend. Nearly 100 000 are expected to cast their votes in different locations across the globe.

Speaking in an interview on eNCA, election analyst Wayne Sussman said the out-of-country vote is the beginning of the watershed election.

“This kicks off the election process. This is the opening salvo for political parties. We will not obviously know the results of these votes until the general counting begins, but this is what kicks off the process.”

Votes will be cast at 111 missions across the world on Friday and Saturday. London is an exception, with voters there having a choice to vote either on Saturday or Sunday. According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), 78 092  South Africans are eligible to vote abroad.

The South African High Commission in the United Kingdom, located right in London’s Trafalgar Square, will potentially draw the most voters in this election. A total of 24 535 voters are registered there. This is much more than the approximately 15 000 registered at Joubert Park, Gauteng, the largest in South Africa.

“It’s the voting station, in this South African election, which will have the most potential voters. No voting station comes close. If I had to think of a voting station in Johannesburg, or the City of Cape Town, or in eThekwini, there’s probably three or four thousand voters; there’s no voting station with 24 000 voters,” he said.

In less than two weeks, South Africans back home will cast their votes at the 23 303 voting stations across the country. They will get to choose new provincial and national leaders from amongst 70 political parties and 11 independent candidates. 

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