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IEC's Glen Mashinini calls for peaceful elections

The first day of the elections got underway today as those who applied for special votes cast their vote.

Independent Electoral Commission Chairperson Glen Mashinini. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chairperson Glen Mashinini has urged South Africans to cast their votes peacefully over the next three days.

The first day of the 2016 municipal elections got underway today as those who applied for special votes ahead of election day on Wednesday, cast their vote.

Almost 79,000 Gauteng residents are expected to cast their special votes today, with about 30,000 being visited by IEC officials at their homes.

Mashinini cast his special vote at the Dainfern College this morning.

"This is so special, thanks to IEC because those of us who could not vote on the voting day, special arrangements have been made that we can actually cast a special vote today and tomorrow.

"And there are many South Africans who are in that particular position; almost a quarter of a million of whom will be casting their special votes."

It's the first time the IEC has received over 700,000 applications for special votes, which is three times more than in 2011.

The special voting comes after the various political party campaigns climaxed at the weekend.

President Jacob Zuma used Nelson Mandela's name to launch one last attack on the Democratic Alliance at the African National Congress's big rally in Johannesburg yesterday.

WATCH: IEC chairperson cast his special vote.

IEC WARNS VOTERS

The IEC has warned those who did not apply not to bother making their way to voting stations until Wednesday.

People eligible to cast their ballots today and tomorrow include those who can't travel to their voting stations because they are disabled, pregnant or will be in a different district to their own on Election Day.

In total, more than 26 million people have registered to vote in this year's elections. Voting abroad is only possible in national elections and not in municipal elections.

The IEC's Kate Bapela said those who didn't apply for a special vote last month will have to vote on Wednesday.

"If you've not applied don't even bother because officials won't assist you. You'll go and vote with the rest of the South Africans on 3 August."

She said voting stations will be open from 8am this morning.

"Voting stations will open at 8 o'clock and close at 5pm for those who are doing special voting. They must be aware of the time."

Special voting days allocated for this year's municipal elections are today and tomorrow.

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