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Political parties use Easter service to encourage voting

Sapa

Political party leaders have spent Easter Sunday encouraging people to cast their ballot in upcoming elections and not to heed the "Vote No" campaign.

South Africans have been called on to use their right to vote, amid a campaign to spoil ballot papers. (AFP)

Leaders from the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Congress of the People (Cope) and many others braced the scorching heat with thousands of churchgoers for the Easter Sunday service at the Tyrannus Apostolic Church in De Deur.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyana, district mayor of Sedibeng Simon Mofokeng, National Freedom Party leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, Cope leader Mosioua Lekota, Economic Freedom Fighters commissar Floyd Shivambu and DA Gauteng provincial leader John Moodey were given warm greetings when they were introduced.

Congregants cheered and ululated with flags and umbrellas raised high during the introductions.

The different leaders took the time to encourage people to vote on May 7.

Peaceful polls
Lekota told congregants to vote because God worked through them.

"I wish we could vote with no problems or incidents on the day. Whoever you vote for, will be God's will."

Shivambu called on people to vote for a better future.

"I encourage you to vote and it must be a vote that guarantees us a better future. That guarantees us that we will have this land without paying for it," he said.

Ramaphosa thanked churchgoers for the role they played in ensuring freedom was attained and for bringing an end to apartheid.

He called on people to pray for government and a better life.

"I'm here to plead that you pray for our government. Pray that all spheres of government continue to deliver a better life for all," he said.

'Speculation'
Speaking to the media, Ramaphosa down-played problems that have engulfed the ANC and said only voters could say there was a problem.

"The people of this country will be the final arbiters of the ANC when they vote," he said.

"What people say outside is just speculation but they [voters] will say how they love this party [through their votes]."

He said the reception the party was getting during campaigning had been warm and it was confident of victory. He threw cold water over the "no vote" campaign headed by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils who is discouraging people to vote for the ANC.

He said those advocating for the campaign had defied themselves outside the ANC and would not see any success.

"Our message won't be diverted by angry people. I don't think their campaign will take off. What they are doing will encourage more people to vote for the ANC," he said.

Ramaphosa said the party would emerge even stronger after the elections as they had done over the years.

Cast your vote
In Cape Town, the Anglican Archbishop in South Africa called on South Africans to use their right to vote, amid a campaign to spoil ballot papers.

"Too many people have suffered and died for us to stay away from the polls out of apathy," said an excerpt from Thabo Makgoba's Easter sermon at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town on Sunday.

"I want to make a call to all Anglicans in our country to exercise their hard-earned privilege and right to vote. After prayerfully reflecting on the party you want to vote for, please go to the polls and vote.

"And vote we must: too many people have suffered and died for us to stay away from the polls out of apathy."

He said there would be "dozens" of parties to choose from and urged people to examine their policies and their behaviour.

"Above all, let us engage with our consciences and be guided by these rather than by fear and blind loyalty when we make our mark on the ballot paper." – Sapa

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