Corporate Traveller | National Elections

South Africa's national elections on May 29th are a celebration of our democracy. As a business traveller, you may find yourself on the road during this significant event. But with some planning, you can balance your work commitments with exercising your constitutional right to vote.

No election day is complete without a spike in demand for travel services, so you'd be wise to get your ducks in a row well before voting day. Bonnie Smith, GM of Corporate Traveller advises, “Book your flights, accommodations, rental cars and other travel services well in advance to avoid shortages or price hikes due to increased election day travel.”

Whether your corporate journeys have you crisscrossing the rainbow nation or taking you further afield during this period, here's the intel you need to travel smart.

Your voting rights: How to exercise your democratic duty

Special vote? Just because you'll be living out of a suitcase doesn't mean you can't make your voice heard at the polls. If you are away from your registered voting district on election day, you can still get in on the action by applying for a special vote between April 15 and May 3, 2024.

"Not being able to vote due to work travel is a massive frustration for business travellers," says Smith. "The special vote process gives you that flexibility, but you have to be proactive about it well ahead of time."

To join the special voters club, you've got three easy options: email with all your details, SMS your name, ID number and voting district to 32249, or make an appointment at your local IEC office. Have your ID book and proof of residence ready. Special voting will then take place on May 27 and 28, and you'll need to vote at the station where you're registered.

For South African citizens who will be outside the country on May 29, you still have the opportunity to cast a special vote at your nearest South African mission or embassy. To vote overseas, you must submit written notification online at or by delivering a form to your local IEC office before April 22, 2024.

The IEC will follow up with you via SMS, and voting will occur on May 17 and 18, 2024, at whichever South African mission you indicated. When voting, you must present your South African ID book/card and passport.

"For business travellers who know they'll be deployed internationally in late May, getting that overseas voting notification submitted early is critical," says Smith. Voters taking this overseas voting route will receive just one ballot - the national ballot. But it still ensures your voice can be heard in this pivotal election no matter where your travels may take you.

How your company can support voters

Travel managers, your role is key in enabling your travellers to fulfil this crucial civic duty while travelling for business. Smith recommends, “Keep an open dialogue about any voting needs, and look at adjusting travel policies to build in flexibility during this period.”

You can lean on your travel management company too. They'll provide services like proactively monitoring election updates, backup plans for any disruptions, coordinated communication channels and 24/7 traveller support.

How a public holiday affects your travel agenda

Here's the good news: you've got a countrywide public holiday to look forward to on May 29 as South Africa goes to the polls. Translation? A glorious reprieve from the back-to-back grind in your schedule – after you have voted.

The not-so-good news? This exodus to voting stations means roadways, airports, and just about every mode of transit will feel more congested.

"Be proactive about adding extra buffer times to your trips because of transport delays and keep close tabs on your transit details as schedules could be disrupted," advises Smith.

Need advice on how to relook your travel policies to give travellers the flexibility they need at times like these? Get in touch!