ANC secretary general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule. Photo: Deaan Vivier
ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule has called on authorities to take "harsh" action against protesters preventing people from casting their votes.
Magashule, accompanied by family members and a group of ANC supporters, was addressing the media outside the AME Church in Tumahole outside Parys in the Free State on Wednesday where he cast his vote.
Magashule said he doesn't believe that those leading the protests in parts of the country on Wednesday, were ANC members.
"Members of the ANC are not supposed to prevent people from voting. I hope they will not be involved in such a thing. Members of the ANC can't act in that manner. We are saying to the protesters please give other people a chance to vote. Leaders of protests in any part of the country including Vuwani in Limpopo, please allow people to vote.
"If they don't want to go and vote, let them allow others who want to vote to go and vote. It is against the law to prevent people from voting. Their illegal activity carries a heavy sentence should they be convicted. The law enforcement agencies should be harsh on them. As the governing party, we will go to Vuwani and other areas in South Africa, where there are challenges."
READ: 'Young boys cannot write about our history' - Ace Magushule criticises the media
Magashule said voting was a constitutional right fought for by the ANC.
"We fought for black people in the main to have voting rights and other basic rights. That is why it is important for everyone in South Africa to exercise their right by voting. Those who have issues must first cast their ballots and raise them once there is a government in charge. Once you don't do so and you complain after the elections, your voice wont be heard.
"We are calling upon all South Africans to get out in numbers, including those who have decided to boycott the elections to go and vote. We are convincing all those who are still not yet convinced, to go and vote. It is becoming late and 21:00 is around the corner. Please go and vote, your vote is special, please go and vote," he said.
Media rights will continue to be protected
Magashule has promised that after the elections, the ANC will ensure that media rights continue to be protected.
"We are prioritising media freedom and we fought for journalists to enjoy the rights they are enjoying today. It can't be us and it will never be us as the ANC, who prevent journalists from operating everywhere and anywhere in the country freely. We also call on newsrooms to allow journalists to write whatever stories they have picked up.
"The heads of newsrooms should not interfere with journalists and refrain from twisting stories," said Magashule.
Magashule has been under fire, following the recent release of the book Gangster State by Pieter-Louis Myburgh, which details allegations of dodgy dealings during Magashule's time as Free State premier.
During a campaign in Lamontville, south of Durban on Friday, Magashule said the media was ignorant of the struggles that the ruling party and its members have endured.
"We must never be demotivated by the media attacks. We know who we are. They cannot write biographies and all that. Young boys cannot write about our history. We must not worry too much. We must stay focused," he said.
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