“Thank you for coming,” says Archbishop Tutu after casting his special vote.
Shortly after 10am on Monday morning, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu walked out of his front door in a jovial mood after casting his special vote.
With the aid of his walking stick, and with a local ward councillor and an official from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) alongside him, the Arch – with a wide smile on his face – waved at the media contingent that was parked outside his gate before blowing a kiss and walking back into his house.
“Thank you for coming,” he said.
He did not conduct any interviews or answer questions.
Tutu was among several South Africans around the country who applied to cast a special vote ahead of the General Elections on Wednesday.
A special vote is aimed at allowing registered voters who cannot vote at their voting station on Election Day.
As Tutu made his way back to his house, Wandisile Ngeyi, the ward councillor of ward four, which includes Milnerton, said he accompanied IEC officials as an observer to ensure that he was satisfied with how the voting was conducted.
He said Tutu and his wife, Leah, were in high spirits after they cast their votes at their Milnerton home.
“The Arch was very happy [sic] to cast his vote together with his wife. They are in a very healthy condition. They really appreciate being given an opportunity to exercise this important right,” he said.
Well-known around the world for his anti-apartheid activism, Tutu, who turned 87 last year and is now retired, has kept away from public life in recent times.
The last time the Nobel Peace Prize winner was in the news was when he was admitted to a Cape Town hospital for a series of tests. Tutu has for over two decades battled with prostate cancer.
On Monday, Ngeyi said while Tutu appeared in high spirits ahead of casting his special vote, he had a serious look on his face as he marked his ballot.
“I would say he was serious because as we know, he is old but he is very much concerned [about] the political developments around the country. He is quite aware of what is going on around the country so he wanted to make sure that he [does] the right thing,” he said.
When Tutu last voted at Milnerton High School during the 2016 Local Government Elections, he said voting to him remained a dream.
“It still is a dream, you know, that one can vote in South Africa as a black person. It is fantastic and I hope everybody will want to use their vote in the right way,” he said.
Special voting will take place on Monday and Tuesday from 9am to 5pm, and voting on Election Day - 8 May - takes place from 7am to 9pm