Sign-ups by young voters low

The Witness - - NEWS -

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of South Africa (IEC) says less than 20% of 18- and 19-year-olds, who will be eligible to vote in the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions, have reg­is­tered so far.

The IEC gave a me­dia brief­ing on voter reg­is­tra­tion and gen­eral readi­ness at Gal­lagher Es­tate in Midrand yes­ter­day. The elec­tions will take place in May, with Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa yet to de­clare the of­fi­cial date. Chief elec­toral of­fi­cer Sy Mam­abolo urged all un­reg­is­tered voters to make use of the fi­nal voter reg­is­tra­tion week­end on Jan­uary 26 and 27.

“Ages be­tween 18 [and] 19 years old only have 16% of them reg­is­tered to vote, while the 2029 co­hort has over 50%,” he said at the launch.

When asked by the me­dia what the IEC was do­ing to en­sure that it at­tracts more of the youth, Mam­abolo said that it would be “con­vers­ing with young peo­ple on so­cial me­dia, and will have voter reg­is­tra­tion points at some ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions”.

“We will also use ra­dio as our an­chor me­dia to reach those in ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas,” he said.

The IEC de­clared its readi­ness for the up­com­ing elec­tions, not­ing that at least 47 new po­lit­i­cal par­ties had re­cently reg­is­tered.

That brings the num­ber of reg­is­tered par­ties to 285, while about 30 other par­ties are still in the ap­pli­ca­tion process, the IEC said.

Only par­ties that pay a R200 000 de­posit to con­test the na­tional elec­tions, and R45 000 for each prov­ince, will be eligible to con­test the elec­tions.

The IEC was ex­pected to em­ploy at least 200 000 sup­port staffers. — News24.

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