SA's voters’ roll surpass 27 million mark for the first time; IEC ready for second registration weekend

South Africans who were unable to register to vote for the upcoming elections in November 2023, will get a chance to do so this coming weekend.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) briefed the media on Wednesday, ahead of its second and final voter registration weekend, taking place on 3 and 4 February 2024. Voter registration is necessary in order to participate in this year’s national and provincial elections.



The Electoral Commission Head, Sy Mamabolo, says 23 303 registration stations across South Africa will operate from 08h00 and 17h00 on both days to register or check their details ahead of the elections.

Over 2.9 million South Africans registered and/or updated their details on the voters’ roll, in the first registration weekend, which was held, on the 18th and 19th of November 2023.

‘’Registration weekends remain the most accessible modality of registration as affirmed by the yield from the first registration weekend. The Commission is happy to report the achievement of two historic milestones - the national voters’ roll has, for the first time, surpassed the 27 million mark. In the 2019 NPE the certified voters’ roll stood at 26.7 million; The online registration platform has proved to be the mainstay of registrations between voter registration weekends. We recorded just under 200 000 new registrations on the registration weekend in November 2023. Overall registration activity in that period is 498 000. Again, this is a new feat, never realised before,’’ said Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer.

‘’We plan to build on these successes and urge all South Africans to make use of this weekend to register for the elections. We further urge eligible voters to visit the registration stations to inspect or update their registration details, or to do so online,’’ he added.

The IEC Head, says over 69 700 staff members in service, who have been recruited and trained, will be stationed across the country for this Voter Registration Weekend.

‘’The forthcoming Voter Registration Weekend will have over 69 718 staff members in service, who have been recruited and trained. The recruitment criteria for electoral staff was conceived in consultation with the National Political Liaison Committee. The names of trained staff have also been shared with Municipal Political Liaison Committees to facilitate objections against those staff members that are deemed unsuitable. Out of the appointed staff, 53 028 are female and 16 690 are male. In addition, 35 640 registration staff are under the age of 35, while 26 475 are between ages 36 and 50. The balance of 7 603 are aged 51 and older. Crucially, 50 213 of the total staff complement are unemployed persons.’’

Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, reminded voters that they will only be able to vote where they are registered

‘’Our collective goal as a nation is to ensure that every one of the eligible voters in South Africa is registered to vote in the 2024 National and Provincial Elections.  It is, therefore, apposite that, ahead of the second voter registration weekend, we remind voters of the general rule in elections. That is, a person votes at a voting station where they are registered. The only exception to the general rule is that a voter may vote outside of the voting district of registration only if they have first notified the Commission by the date which will be regulated by the Election Timetable. The need for this prior notification is new and comes about as a result of the changes to the law. Details of the modalities of this notification will be outlined after the registration process.’’

Mamabolo says for the second registration weekend, there are over 23 000 permanent voting stations and close to a thousand temporary voting stations across South Africa

‘’Lease agreements for 23 303 permanent voting stations have been signed and concluded. Of these, 62% are schools, 9.7% are places of worship and the balance of 28% include all other categories such as community halls and other municipal facilities’’

‘’There are a further 959 temporary voting stations across the country. The majority of temporary stations are found in the province of Gauteng at 204, followed by the Free State at 180, and Limpopo at 150. Procurement processes concerning the provision of temporary infrastructure have been concluded. The implementation of temporary infrastructure ensures that electoral services reach even those communities who do not yet have public amenities. Temporary voting stations are, therefore, an important mechanism of extending franchise rights to all citizens, and there are 33 mobile voting stations,’’ he added.

The Chief Commissioner said the Voter Management Devices are the mainstay technology of the delivery registration processes. The VMDs has been introduced in 2021 and has gone significant improvements.

‘’The success of the first Registration Weekend was, in the main, because of the efficiencies brought by the voter management devices (VMDs). The VMD is the mainstay technology for the delivery of the registration process. Once again, three business applications will be running on the VMDs during this weekend. These are the Voter Registration, Voting Station Monitoring, and Staff Attendance Register applications. The devices are designed to operate online via a secure private cellular data connection. However, all three applications have been coded to function fully without access to the network – what we call the offline mode – if certain predetermined parameters are met. These include instances when there is insufficient connectivity with the data centre. The interplay between the online and offline modes of the devices will happen without operator intervention.’’

Concerning those abroad, specifically in conflict-ridden regions such as Ukraine, Russia, Sudan, and the IEC’s commissioner, Janet Love, said voter stations won’t be open in this areas due to safety concerns.

‘’That is something that is beyond our control. It is legally enshrined where voting takes place. Although time is marching on and the window between May and August are drawing near, it is certainly our hope that those three jurisdictions will not remain close but that is something that we cannot control.’’

The IEC says it rejects utterances by former president Jacob Zuma claiming the commission is biased.

‘’As soon as a political party or independent candidate, is part of a process of the upcoming election, they are part of the process that ensures the elections are free and fair. The commission has received absolutely no evidence of bias and rejects this kind of talk that attempts to inject this into our country. It is unacceptable, it’s undemocratic. We invite any contestant to recognize that part of being a candidate is to join and accept responsibility to make the elections a success. It is entirely irresponsible as a citizen to undermine the process rather than enabling it,’’ said Janet Love, IEC commissioner.

In terms of those who registered outside South Africa, and Mamabolo says about 29 300 South Africans are now on the voters roll. Before the two-day voter registration event for South African citizens abroad, which took place between 26th and 28th of January, that number stood at approximately 18 000

‘’Out-of-country registrations continue until proclamation via the online registration facility that the Electoral Commission has developed and which is accessible through the website https://registertovote.elections.org.za.’’

Rank

Continent

Country

Mission

Registered Voters

1

EUROPE

UK

London

9373

2

EUROPE

NETHERLANDS

The Hague

2855

3

EUROPE

IRELAND

Dublin

1306

4

ASIA

UAE

Dubai

1090

5

OCEANIA

AUSTRALIA

Canberra

1075

 

Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, reminded eligible voters on how to check at which voting stations to make their marlk, or to check if they are registered

‘’It is crucially important for each voter to check where they are registered. This is more acute in the light of the general rule that a voter must vote at the voting station at which that voter is registered. To check your registration status there are a number of channels that can be used:

Our contact centre is fully operational and can be reached on 0800 11 8000.

SMS your identity number (no spaces) to 32810

IEC website: https://www.elections.org.za/pw/Voter/Voter-Information

We are pleased to announce that, as of today, voters can also check their registration status and voting station details via our WhatsApp Chatbot on 0600 88 0000.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

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