South Africa


Where, how, when to vote: A guide to the 2024 South African general elections

Where, how, when to vote: A guide to the 2024 South African general elections
Groundup asked the major contestants of the 29 May elections about social grants. (Illustration: Lisa Nelson)

South Africans will be voting for new national and provincial governments in May 2024. Do you know where, when and how to vote, and how the special vote works? We've got you covered.

Election day 2024 is around the corner. If you’re still unsure about the logistics, or want to know what the major political parties are offering, this guide is for you.

When is election day 2024?

The elections will take place on Wednesday, 29 May. In terms of the Constitution, the elections must be held within 90 days of the expiry of the current term of the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

Where can I vote?

You need to vote at the voting station serving the voting district in which you are registered to vote. You can find your voting station here.

Where do I check if I’m registered to vote?

You can check your voter registration status here. You can also SMS your ID number to 32810. All SMSes are charged at R1. Contact the call centre on 0800 11 8000.

What time do voting stations open?

The voting stations will be open from 07:00 to 21:00 on election day.

Is election day a public holiday?

There is no rule or law that determines that voting day must be a public holiday. However, President Cyril Ramaphosa has, in terms of Section 2A of the Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994), proclaimed the day of the election, 29 May 2024 will be a public holiday.

Can I vote if I’m in another town or province on election day?

You may vote outside of your voting district in-country if you notified the Electoral Commission (IEC) in advance, by Friday, 17 May 2024, 23:59, indicating at which voting district you intend to vote. If you have not applied or received approval to vote at another voting station, you will not be able to vote at any other voting station than the one you are registered at. In previous elections, voters who went to any voting station were allowed to vote on the national ballot, but this has been changed.

Can I vote if I registered but have lost my ID with the sticker in it?

Yes, but you need to get a Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC) that will be valid on election day. You can apply for your TIC at the Department of Home Affairs. Also check your registration details and confirm that your name appears on the voters’ roll. You can re-register if necessary

For more voting facts and tips, visit the Daily Maverick elections knowledge hub.

How does the new three-ballot system work?

For the first time this year, independent candidates are allowed to participate in the elections. To accommodate this change, voters will vote on three ballots, instead of two. First is the national ballot, which contains a list of the 52 political parties contesting 200 seats in the National Assembly. This ballot will be the same across the nation. Second is the regional ballot, which is to vote for political parties and independent candidates contesting for the 200 seats reserved for regions (provinces) in the National Assembly. Finally, there is the provincial ballot, which is unique to each province. Voters will use this ballot to elect political parties and independent candidates to serve in their province’s legislature. For more information, read here.

Who qualifies for a special vote?

According to the IEC’s criteria, only people who cannot travel to voting stations due to being physically infirm, disabled, or pregnant, and those who cannot vote at their voting station on election day, qualify for a special vote.

The application appears to work on an honour system that allows voters to cast their ballots two days before election day on 27 and 28 May.

You can apply for a special vote on the IEC’s website, or by SMSing your identity number to 32249 for voting station visits only. You can also visit your local IEC office and submit an Appendix 1B form for a voting station special vote. The deadline for applying for special votes was 3 May.

Home visits

For home visits for those unable to travel to voting stations due to illness or disability, an Appendix 1A form can be submitted to your local IEC office. Someone else can hand-deliver the forms on your behalf.

How to know which parties and candidates are on the ballot and what they are offering?

Major political parties have each published a manifesto that states their intended priorities should they be voted into office. You can see a breakdown of these election promises in the Daily Maverick manifesto guide.

One last thing…

We regularly address readers’ questions about the elections. You can find previously answered questions here. If you have any additional questions or topics you’d like us to cover, you can share them here.


Daily Maverick has closed comments on all elections articles for the next two weeks. While we do everything in our power to ensure deliberately false, misleading and hateful commentary does not get published on our site, it’s simply not possible for our small team to have sight of every comment. Given the political dynamics of the moment, we cannot risk malignant actors abusing our platform to manipulate and mislead others. We remain committed to providing you with a platform for dynamic conversation and exchange and trust that you understand our need for circumspection at this sensitive time for our country.

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