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Mbeki says winning party has huge responsibility to live up to people's expectations

Former president Thabo Mbeki has urged “whichever” party will win the elections to live up to the expectations of the electorate and address issues of poverty.

Speaking after casting his vote at the Holy Family College in Parktown, Johannesburg, Mbeki said he hoped voters would apply their minds in choosing the party of their choice.

“As I was voting I was looking at the list of the parties that are contesting [which] is a very long list. I think in order to be able to choose among all of these, would require us to apply our minds [and ask] what do these parties represent. Do they give hope. I really hope that people will apply their minds to this because the choice is very wide,” he said.

Mbeki was accompanied by Gauteng ANC deputy chair Panyaza Lesufi. The former president declined to make any calls for people to vote for the ANC, urging journalists to “respect the rules” which prevent campaigning on election day.

He told reporters that there were high expectations and a huge responsibility upon the party and the person who will lead government after the elections.

“I think all of us are perfectly familiar with the aspirations of the people. There is common demands that all South Africans have. People are very concerned about unemployment, inequality…Therefore whichever party gets elected nationally and provincially, have a heavy responsibility to practically live up  to the expectations of the people with regards to those matters,” Mbeki said.

“Once we elect whatever party, there’s a lot that we expect from that party. They really have to deliver…If you see levels of poverty in the country and you see really poor people, you really want to cry. I think the obligation on the parties we elect is really heavy. They really have to practically address these issues and not just put things in their manifestos and then do nothing afterwards.”

Mbeki commended the police for acting swiftly in incidents which were aimed at disrupting elections in parts of the country.

The IEC confirmed on Wednesday that 17 voting stations were not opened by 11.30am as they could not be accessed by officials or voters.

A total of 14 of these polling stations are on the southern coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

TimesLIVE takes you through the country on Election Day on May 8 2019.

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