South Africans abroad continue to support the DA, but voting challenges persist

Issued by Francine Higham – DA Abroad Leader
15 May 2019 in News

With the results of the 2019 General Election now confirmed we are pleased to announce that 74.45% of South Africans who cast their vote abroad on the 27 April, voted for the DA. Thank you to every single voter abroad who travelled great distances to foreign missions around the world on Freedom Day to make their vote count.

We know that there are hundreds of thousands of South Africans living around the world who still care very much for our country and for our friends and family back home – casting our vote is one way of displaying this. We also know that there are many obstacles to casting your vote abroad.

As the DA Abroad we have fought for better access to voting abroad since before the 2009 elections, requesting:

  • More voting stations
  • No requirement for a passport to vote
  • Our votes to count towards the provincial ballot

In 2014 our actions resulted in South Africans being able to register abroad to vote, and by lobbying the IEC ahead of the 2019 elections we were given weekend voting, the overseas voting process was streamlined, and the queue times were reduced significantly.

We are also happy to announce that this year every single ballot cast abroad arrived back in South Africa to be counted, unlike in 2014.

Unfortunately, all our other requests were blocked by the ANC government with no reason given.

The DA Abroad team of volunteers worked tirelessly ahead of this election to drive awareness of overseas voting, engaging with South Africans abroad to encourage them to vote. On election day we had over 60 volunteers at 25 voting stations around the world (23 in London alone), with party agents observing the voting process for over 63% of the votes cast to ensure they were done so freely and fairly.

19,882 votes were cast abroad, and this was up from 18,132 in 2014, and the results show overwhelming support for the DA with 14,802 votes cast in our favour.

Overseas voting in numbers:

2019 valid votes cast abroad = 19,882

2019 approved VEC10 applications = 31,314

2014 valid votes cast abroad = 18,247

2014 approved VEC10 applications = 27,084

Top 10 overseas voting stations by votes cast:

LONDON              5,920     (61% turnout)

DUBAI                  1,096     (66% turnout)

THE HAGUE        949        (67% turnout)

ABU DHABI         842        (77% turnout)

DUBLIN               581        (67% turnout)

KINSHASA           523        (62% turnout)

CANBERRA         522        (41% turnout)

DOHA                   467        (79% turnout)

WELLINGTON     458        (47% turnout)

NEW YORK         401        (62% turnout)

Throughout the campaign, we heard from many South Africans who were frustrated by the hurdles they’re expected to overcome simply to enact their democratic right, and witnessed even more who were turned away at the voting station because they didn’t have the correct documentation or who hadn’t completed the VEC10 form.

The DA Abroad will continue to lobby Parliament in the coming years to ensure that South Africans abroad can vote with more ease while ensuring the integrity of the system.