[QODLink]
Archive
South Africans to vote in April
South African President Thabo Mbeki has announced that the country's third general elections since the end of apartheid would be held on 14 April.
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2004 15:23 GMT
The ANC is widely expected to win at the polls
South African President Thabo Mbeki has announced that the country's third general elections since the end of apartheid would be held on 14 April.

Mbeki's African National Congress (ANC) is expected to easily win at the polls.
 
The ANC, under anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, led South Africa from white rule to multi-racial democracy in 1994.

It now holds two-thirds of parliament's seats thanks to defections from the opposition, and controls all provinces except Kwazulu-Natal.
 
"I would like to inform the national legislature and the country that the 2004 general election... will take place on the 14th of April," said Mbeki.
 
Political analysts expect Mbeki to be sworn in for a second five-year term on or around 27 April, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the country's first democratic election.
 
Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela as president in 1999, launched the ANC's election campaign in January, vowing to fight poverty and joblessness which still plague most of the black majority.

Opposition parties, meanwhile, hope to chip away at the ANC's dominance by targeting weaknesses, including South Africa's high crime rates and a devastating AIDS epidemic that infects more than five million of the country's 45 million people.

Mbeki said electoral rolls would close at midnight (2200 GMT) on Wednesday after a registration drive which has signed up more than 20 million people, or 85% of eligible voters.

Political violence

Mbeki, in his annual state of the nation address to parliament on Friday, said the ANC had outlined the basic steps necessary to resolve South Africa's problems and did not anticipate major new policy initiatives in the next 10 years.

Main opposition, the Democratic
Alliance says ANC failed to deliver

He also urged voters to eschew the political violence which has marred earlier elections, particularly in Kwazulu-Natal where the ANC and the Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) are already trading accusations of intimidation and attacks.

The opposition has criticised Mbeki for delaying the announcement of the election date while pushing forward with the ANC's own national campaign.
 
The IFP, fighting hard to retain its control of the Kwazulu-Natal provincial legislature, launched its own campaign in mid-January while the country's official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), started its vote drive on Saturday.

"The ANC has been put on notice. It has 10 years of broken promises and failures to deliver," DA election campaign chairman James Selfe said in a statement.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.