PRETORIA - Government on Monday reiterated its call that all South Africans participate in Wednesday's general election.
"In the spirit of the year-long celebration of 20 years of freedom, government joins the nation in anticipating a peaceful day of voting countrywide," spokeswoman Phumla Williams said in a statement.
"To help ensure this happens, ministers in the justice, crime prevention and security cluster have visited various parts of the country in the last two weeks."
During these visits, ministers interacted with security structures on the ground, met community leaders and interacted directly with communities.
"They have assured the nation that voting will take place in a safe environment," said Williams.
"Wednesday... has been declared a public holiday to allow citizens to cast their votes at their respective polling stations. Government calls on businesses that open on holidays to allow their employees to exercise their democratic right to vote."
Williams said this was an important and exciting time for South Africans, especially those who had registered to vote for the first time.
"It is another opportunity for South African voters to determine the future of this country. Twenty years into this democracy, South Africa is now a better place to live in," she said.
"The 2014 elections take place in a country that has made great strides in changing the lives of South Africans. Many people have died to achieve this democratic freedom. We owe it to them to come out in our numbers to vote on Wednesday."
President Jacob Zuma has also reiterated the importance of peoples' right to vote.
He's appealed for calm in areas identified as potential hotspots for disruption of the voting process.
The President has singled out parts of the North West and Bekkersdal in Gauteng as areas of particular concern.
ANC leaders and campaigners have recently come under attack in these volatile areas.
Zuma has also urged employers, especially farmers, to allow workers time to cast their ballots tomorrow.
He's promised a heavy security presence on election day, and says government wants a peaceful poll, to ensure the elections are free and fair.
"We are very concerned about it. partly because we want peaceful elections so that we can say they were free and fair. Once there are hotspots or there are people who threaten to disrupt etc, that must be of big concern. As a result the security clusters will deploy the security personnel."
All voting stations would be open from 7am and close at 9pm.
Not sure where to place your mark? Use our Voting Aid to find the party that best represents you. Click here: http://www.enca.com/south-africa/voting-aid
- Additional reporting Sapa