President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma has urged all registered voters to cast their ballots in the local government elections tomorrow.

In a statement, the presidency said the elections were set to be the largest in the country’s history and that voting is a precious right as the “victory over apartheid and the right to vote by all South Africans was not an easy achievement”.

A record number of voters 26.3 million South Africans are registered to vote.

“We are encouraged that for the first time in our history, this election will see 200 political parties and over 61000 candidates participating, which reflects the maturity of our democracy that continues to reflect the will of the people,” the presidency said.

“All registered voters must celebrate democracy and freedom by turning out to vote on the 3rd of August.”

The presidency said that security would remain highly visible on election day to ensure that no one is prevented from voting.

The first special votes were cast yesterday, marking the beginning of the tightly contested polls.

“In a very few instances, special voting was briefly delayed and in some cases had still not got underway by 11am due to a variety of reasons,” said IEC chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya.

The reasons for the delays included vehicle accidents involving Independent Electoral Commission staff, incorrect ballot papers delivered to voting stations, and community protests.

No incidents were reported in the Western Cape.

Meanwhile, SAPS will deploy 100 000 officers to ensure peaceful voting.

More than 54 000 cops will be stationed at the IEC’s more than 22 000 polling stations, while the rest will be mobile.

And 650 stations have been identified as high risk.