Is Election Day a Public Holiday in South Africa

is election day a public holiday in south africa

Recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared that May 29, 2024, would be a public holiday in South Africa. This is because it’s the day when national and provincial elections will take place. The announcement was made through a government gazette on February 23, 2024, following the Public Holidays Act’s section 2A.

Is Election Day a Public Holiday in South Africa?

Yes, Election Day is a public holiday in South Africa. The declaration of May 29 as a public holiday has a two-fold purpose. Firstly, it fulfills the constitutional obligation of providing citizens with the freedom to participate fully in the democratic process. Secondly, it aligns with South Africa’s celebration of 30 years of freedom and democracy, adding a symbolic significance to the electoral event.

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President Ramaphosa Encourages Democratic Participation

President Ramaphosa, speaking through his spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, urged all eligible voters to use their democratic right to vote. He emphasized the importance of peaceful campaigning within the boundaries of the law and encouraged unregistered voters to make use of the online registration platform before the deadline.

The significance of this declaration lies not only in marking the election day but also in closing the voter registration process. The Electoral Commission of South Africa urged citizens to register or update their details online before the midnight deadline on February 23, 2024. The closure of the voter registration aligns with the gazetted proclamation of the election date.

The Department of Home Affairs’ Role in the Electoral Process

As part of the electoral process, the Department of Home Affairs officially declared May 29, 2024, as a public holiday, ensuring that all South Africans are free and available to cast their votes. This additional gazette, separate from the announcement of the election date, solidifies the connection between election day and the public holiday.

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Significance of May 29th Beyond a Public Holiday

The 2024 elections are special because they coincide with South Africa’s three-decade celebration of freedom and democracy. To make the electoral process transparent and structured, the Independent Electoral Commission published a detailed election timetable. This schedule outlines key dates, including the deadline for political parties to submit candidate forms, special voting periods, and the closure of voter registration.

The Independent Electoral Commission’s Timetable

Starting from February 26, the voter roll will be available for inspection until March 4. Any objections to the provisional voters’ roll must be raised before this deadline. Additionally, political parties have until March 8 to submit their lists of candidates, and the chief electoral officer must certify the voters’ roll by March 12.

The final candidate and party lists, following the objection process, will be presented on April 10. Special voting at foreign missions is scheduled for May 17-18, while general special voting is set for May 27-28. The climax of the electoral process will be on May 29, the official voting day.

Why is May 29, 2024, a Public Holiday in South Africa?

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared May 29, 2024, a public holiday under the Public Holidays Act. This decision ensures that everyone has the freedom to participate fully in the upcoming national and provincial elections.


Is May 29, 2024, a public holiday automatically because of the Election Date?

No, the election date being declared a public holiday required a separate proclamation. President Cyril Ramaphosa officially declared May 29, 2024, a public holiday under the Public Holidays Act.

Why are political parties given specific deadlines in the run-up to May 29th?

Setting deadlines for political parties, like submitting candidate lists by March 8, ensures a structured approach to the election, providing clarity and fairness in candidate selection.

Can citizens still register to vote after the voter registration deadline on february 23, 2024?

After February 23, voter registration closes, but eligible voters can still use the online registration platform before the deadline to ensure they can participate in the elections.

What preparations are in place for the May 29, 2024, voting day to ensure a smooth process?

Various preparations, including special voting options, candidate certifications, and overseas voting arrangements, are in place to ensure that May 29, 2024, runs smoothly as the official voting day.


The declaration of May 29, 2024, as a public holiday in conjunction with the national and provincial elections reflects South Africa’s commitment to democratic values and the celebration of freedom. The detailed election timetable provides citizens with a clear understanding of the process, ensuring transparency and encouraging active participation in shaping the nation’s future.

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