Overseas South Africans voted on Wednesday 15 March 2009, a week ahead of the national elections for residents at home. The turn-out in London by far surpassed turnout in any other city, with every individual South African who registered to vote in London doing so. The government reports that 7 427 voters in total made their mark at South Africa House in the British capital’s Trafalgar Square.
According to various media, Themba Maseko, a spokesperson at the High Commission, stated that there was evident enthusiasm amongst those who queued to make their mark. “The day bodes well for creating the atmosphere for more South Africans to return (home) and make a contribution through deploying their skills in nation-building efforts or creating more jobs.”
About 16 240 voters intended casting their votes at the 124 South African missions abroad. The second largest overseas polling station was in Canberra, Australia, with 1 235 registered voters, followed by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with 900 registered South Africans making their mark. The Consulate General in the UAE, Agnes Nyamande-Pitso, told the media that a constant stream of South Africans had come in to vote since the polling station opened at 7am.
“The process went fairly well, the IEC (Independent Electoral Election) were very helpful, and the atmosphere was very good. Everyone was excited about voting,” said Gaudi Le Roux, South African voter abroad, who relayed his experience of voting in Canberra to various media.
“About 16 240 voters intended casting their votes at the 124 South African missions abroad.”
Meanwhile in New York City, Consul General Fikile Magubane reported that everything had gone smoothly, with about thirty staff members at tables and booths since 5am.
Some stars were amongst those that made their mark on South African. Local South African rugby team, the Stormers, were amongst the 410 who voted in New Zealand according to their spokesperson Frikkie Erasmus, who described the process as professionally handled.
All votes cast outside South Africa were couriered back to the country in specially chartered planes, with ballots counted on April 22, after all local South African voting stations had closed.