'They felt the full impact of apartheid' - Desmond Tutu, wife cast special vote from home in Cape Town

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  • IEC officials visited Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, at their home on Saturday morning. 
  • The two registered for special votes, which opened in the morning. 
  • Municipal elections are scheduled for Monday, 1 November 2021. 

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, are among the thousands who cast their special vote for the municipal elections on Saturday.

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) opened for special votes on Saturday morning.

The Tutus voted from their home in Cape Town, the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust chairperson, Mamphela Ramphele, said. 

READ | Protests by Soweto residents over electricity outages mars ANC's final elections rally

Ramphele said the elderly couple wouldn't let their relative frailty get in the way of exercising their right to vote. 

Earlier this month, Tutu celebrated his 90th birthday. 

"They (Tutus) are of a generation that felt the full impact of apartheid and were denied the right to vote for most of their lives. They were too close to the struggle, and the Arch presided at too many funerals of struggle martyrs to ever take this right for granted.

"They are acutely aware of the preciousness of being able to have a say in who should lead our government," Ramphele said.

Ramphele said Tutu was fond of the maxim that, in a democracy, people vote for a government and leaders they deserve. 

She added: 

If you don't participate in elections, you can't expect complaining afterwards to fix much.

News24 reported that the first day of special votes was marred by protests in parts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and bad weather in some areas of Gauteng and the North West. 

Service delivery protests in the Eastern Cape saw five polling stations closed, while eight others in KwaZulu-Natal's Umkhambathini municipality were closed down by community members who wanted a local chief to be reinstated. 

More than one million applications for special votes were approved - 49 percent home visits and 51 percent to be cast at voting stations.

The municipal elections will take place on Monday, 1 November 2021. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the deployment of 10 000 SANDF troops to help police and the IEC ensure safety at voting stations and results centres on Monday, News24 reported. 

The government has identified KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, and the Western Cape as possible hotspots for violence.


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