The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it has recorded a significant number of young people during its first voter registration drive ahead of next year’s elections. Almost three million people have interacted with the commission to register, re-register or check their details at the IEC’s voting stations across the country and through its online portal.
This has since brought the number of registered voters to 26,8 million, up from 26,3 million.
The number of South Africans who have registered to vote has increased by half a million people.
The IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, says they are happy to announce that the elusive group of voters, young people, are the ones who turned out in large numbers to register.
“The IEC is pleased to have interacted with 2,9 million voters during the first weekend. Eligible voters registering for the first time 568 000 and this accounts for 19, 57 % of the registration activity. Young people in the age category 16-29 account for 445 000 or 78,31 of the new registration. So, therefore, the IEC focus on young people is beginning to yield results and we will focus on improving efforts to register the youth,” says Sy Mamabolo: IEC chief electoral officer.
Spotlight on release of final voter registration numbers: Mbali Ntuli
Mamabolo says Gauteng recorded the highest number of people who seem to have an interest in participating in the elections, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
“The voters roll now stands at 26, 8 million which is an increase from 26, 3 million before the registration weekend. The province of and Gauteng continues to be inhabited by a majority of the country’s population as well as being the largest voting block 6,2 million voters.”
And for those who missed out can breathe a sigh of relief. The IEC says there will be another voter registration weekend to afford those who might have missed the opportunity to register for next year’s elections.
However, it’s encouraged potential voters to use its online portal for registration, re-registration and confirmation of their details.
“There will be a second registration weekend which the commission will announce in due course that will be the last opportunity and that will be an opportunity for those who might have been hindered to register. Nonetheless, there is also an online portal on 24-hour basis until the date of the election is proclaimed,” Mamabolo added.
The IEC also slammed those who discouraged and threatened South Africans from participating in elections, insisting that it’s everyone’s democratic right to participate in the elections.
“It appropriate that we express our disquiet at the fact that there are some community leaders who instigate communities the process of the commission and no one amongst us the 62 million right has the right to decide who to vote and not to vote and I think we need to be unequivocal in the condemnation of such activities,” Mamabolo explains.
For now, no election date has been set but there is a likelihood that the polls will take place between 22 May and 22 August next year.
Video: IEC Voter Registration Update