2.7 mil­lion peo­ple turn out for voter registration week­end

African Times - - Politics - RUS­SEL MOLEFE

OVER 2.7 mil­lion peo­ple went to ver­ify their ad­dresses dur­ing the voter registration week­end, the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) has re­vealed.

IEC CEO Sy Mam­abolo said a to­tal of 2 767 139 ci­ti­zens vis­ited their vot­ing sta­tions over the past week­end to ei­ther reg­is­ter as new vot­ers or to up­date their registration, mak­ing this one of the busiest voter registration week­ends in re­cent years.

“Of the 2.76 mil­lion vot­ers who vis­ited their vot­ing sta­tions this week­end, 1 390 861 used the op­por­tu­nity to re-reg­is­ter in their cur­rent vot­ing district; 885 758 used the op­por­tu­nity to change their registration to a new vot­ing district, and 490 520 were vot­ers reg­is­ter­ing for the first time,” he said.

Of the new voter’s reg­is­tra­tions, over 400 000 (82%) were un­der the age of 30 and ap­prox­i­mately 54 per­cent were women. Mam­abolo said the prov­ince of Gaut­eng saw the most new registration at 23.69 per­cent fol­lowed by KwaZulu Natal with 18.78 per­cent and Lim­popo with 17.03 per­cent.

“The vot­ers’ roll now stands at 26 250 939 vot­ers which is es­ti­mated to be ap­prox­i­mately 75 per­cent of the el­i­gi­ble vot­ing pop­u­la­tion based on Statis­tics South Africa vot­ing age pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates. With the re­sults of the registration week­end fac­tored, the Eastern Cape is the prov­ince with the high­est level of registration at 87 per­cent fol­lowed by the Free State at 82.2 per­cent and KwaZulu Natal, Lim­popo and North­ern Cape at 79 per­cent. De­spite the high num­ber of new voter reg­is­tra­tions over the past week­end Gaut­eng has the low­est over­all registration at 67.3 per­cent,” he said.

The drive to reg­is­ter peo­ple comes on the back­drop of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court or­der­ing the IEC to en­sure the voter’s roll in­cludes peo­ple’s ad­dresses. The court said the move was to en­sure that there is no cor­rup­tion dur­ing elec­tions.

Mam­abolo added that the week­end also saw a large spike in on­line ac­tiv­ity with over 50 000 reg­is­tered vot­ers us­ing the web­site and the App to check and up­date their ad­dress de­tails. He said since the on­line fa­cil­ity was in­tro­duced last year, over 100 000 vot­ers have used it to check and up­date their de­tails.

“The on­line fa­cil­ity at www. elec­tions.org.za and our App re­main avail­able 24 hours a day for reg­is­tered vot­ers to check and up­date their ad­dress de­tails.

“The av­er­age du­ra­tion spent on­line or on the app is just less than 6 min­utes. It is es­ti­mated that ap­prox­i­mately 300 000 who vis­ited vot­ing sta­tions are among the 2.8 mil­lion vot­ers for whom the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion did not have an ad­dress go­ing into the week­end,” he said.

Mam­abolo added that the com­pleted registration forms would now be scanned and all de­mo­graphic and ad­dress de­tails cap­tured over the com­ing weeks to de­ter­mine the fi­nal im­pact on the as­pect of the vot­ers’ roll.

In terms of the provin­cial break­down of the registration ac­tiv­ity, the most pop­u­lated prov­inces pre­dictably had the high­est par­tic­i­pa­tion with KwaZulu Natal record­ing 558 728 in­ter­ac­tions with vot­ers (20.19 per­cent) fol­lowed by Gaut­eng with 517 703 (18.71 per­cent) and the Eastern Cape with 460 168 (16.63 per­cent).

“Week­end registration ac­tiv­ity at vot­ing sta­tions saw par­tic­i­pa­tion dou­ble on Sun­day with 1.8 mil­lion recorded in­ter­ac­tions com­pared to about 955 000 on Satur­day. This is in line with pre­vi­ous trends dur­ing registration week­ends,” he said.

The Com­mis­sion said it was not the end of the process. Peo­ple can still visit the IEC’s of­fices clos­est to them to check, up­date and reg­is­ter to vote. Mam­abolo said the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion be­lieves that such a high turnout with more than a year un­til the next gen­eral elec­tions bodes ex­tremely well for par­tic­i­pa­tion in next year’s elec­tions and the fu­ture of elec­toral democ­racy in the coun­try.

Members of the public in Lim­popo heeded the call for voter registration last week­end. They flooded registration sta­tions and were en­cour­aged by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of po­lit­i­cal par­ties to “do the right thing”, as called by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

Pictures: Lebo Mak­wela/Vis­ual Buzz SA

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