South Africa sets May 8 as election date

Friday February 8 2019

ANC poster

A helicopter flies a giant flag from the South African ruling Party, African National Congress (ANC) in Durban on January 1, 2019, urging people to register to vote in the upcoming May elections. PHOTO | AFP 

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced May 8 as the country's general election date.

"In a few months' time, South Africans will go to the polls for the sixth time in our democracy to vote for national and provincial governments," President Ramaphosa said during his 2019 State of the Nation Address.

"This is an opportunity for our people to exercise their hard-won right to determine the direction of this country. I have engaged with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and also with the premiers of all provinces, and intend to proclaim the 8th of May 2019 as the date of the election," he said Thursday.

The President urged eligible citizens to enrol as voters.

The IEC launched the voter registration exercise in Midrand last month, calling on young people to list.

Over 280 political parties have registered to contest the provincial and national elections.

According to the IEC, more than 80 percent of new voters are younger than 30 years old.

The commission has previously expressed concern that about nine million eligible voters are yet registered, with six million of them under the age of 30.