Ramaphosa: If you don't vote, you're punishing yourself

President Ramaphosa made the comments during a visit to the town of Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape

FILE: ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa told supporters at a rally in kwaNobuhle, Eastern Cape. Picture: ANC

MQANDULI - President Cyril Ramaphosa said that those who abstain from voting on 8 May would punish themselves, not government.

Ramaphosa made the comments during a visit to the town of Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape. He told residents they should vote for the ANC if they want to see changes.

“When they don’t go out and vote and sit back, it’s a clear signal that they are not interested in the progress of our country. They’re not interested in the development of our county.”

Even though he had a hero’s welcome in the rural villages, some remained sceptical.

“I just want Mongameni to come back after the elections, to check how we’re feeling, to ask us and to see about the changes. He promised us, and we’re waiting to see. We are willing to see Mongameni make changes here in Mqanduli,” one resident said.

It was the first time most of the residents had seen Ramaphosa in this very rural part of the country, but many said they would definitely vote.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders said they were not invited to participate in the official Freedom Day celebration in Makhanda on Saturday.

However, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the event was open for anyone to attend, but only the president could make a speech.

National Freedom Day celebrations in Makhanda looked a little like an ANC rally because of the regalia worn, but EFF councillor Siyamthanda Dyantjie and some EFF supporters attended.

Mthethwa said political parties lost interest two years ago when a decision was taken that their leaders would not speak.

“You know, there was no particular invite. Even then leaders were told, come and speak.”

WATCH: ANC, DA & EFF hit the campaign trail on Freedom Day

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)