SA expats allowed vote

Citizens living abroad will now be able to vote in the National Assembly ballot in next year’s polls.

Citizens living abroad will now be able to vote in the National Assembly ballot in next year’s polls. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - For the first time since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, citizens living abroad will be able to register and vote in the national elections next year.

President Jacob Zuma signed the Electoral Amendments Bill into law.

Previously, the act only made provisions for government officials, travelling sports teams and people on business or holiday trips to cast a special vote.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says the new law follows court challenges by the Freedom Front Plus before the 2009 elections as well as extensive consultations with the state and political parties.

Chief Electoral Officer Mosotho Moepya says citizens residing abroad can register at their local embassy.

"Mondays to Fridays, during office hours, they will find those services available to them."

Voters will only be able to vote in the National Assembly ballot and not for candidates in the provincial legislatures.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) opposed the bill in Parliament for that reason, saying the current structure " creates a situation where some voters are more equal than others."

But other parties hit out at the DA, accusing them of vote grabbing for going to court with the matter.