/ 20 February 2024

It’s a date: Ramaphosa declares 29 May election day

2023 State Of The Nation Address In South Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the 2023 State Of The Nation Address. (Photo by Jeffrey Abrahams/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has proclaimed 29 May, 2024, as the date for the national and provincial elections.

The announcement was made  on Tuesday night, ending months of speculation as to when South Africans will vote in the long-awaited poll.

In a statement, the Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS) said the decision had been taken after consultation with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

Ramaphosa had met the nine provincial premiers and the IEC to discuss the state of readiness for the elections, which coincided with 30 years of freedom and democracy.

“Beyond the fulfilment 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,” the president said in the statement.

“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”, Ramaphosa said.

The election comes at a time when the governing ANC is at its weakest since 1994, the result of a succession of breakaway parties, corruption, failing service delivery and increasing economic hardship.

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen welcomed the setting of the date.

The DA hopes to unseat the ANC via the Multi Party Charter for South Africa – a coalition of opposition parties – and to retain the Western Cape, which it governs.

Steenhuisen said the election was a “turning point for South Africa” and came at a time when “our nation needs it the most in three decades”.

Steenhuisen said the DA was “fully prepared for the challenge ahead,” and was “all-systems-go for the May 29 date”.

He said the DA had prepared “meticulously” for the elections and was “poised to build upon months of hard work across every town and city in South Africa”.