The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says 700 000 new voters have been added to the voters’ roll ahead of this year’s National and Provincial elections.
IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo said this when the electoral commission briefed the media on the outcomes of the final voter registration weekend at the Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“The Electoral Commission is pleased to report that over 700 000 new voters registered during the final registration weekend, bringing the total number of registered voters on the voters’ roll to 26 727 921.
“Most encouragingly, of the 703 794 new registrations, over 81% [574 899] are under 30 years old. This means that the youth have heeded the call to register,” he said.
The announcement comes after some government departments and political parties, among others, put in a last-ditch effort over the weekend to urge citizens to come out in their numbers to either register to vote or to check their details at their nearest voting stations.
The Department of Home Affairs extended the working hours at its offices to ensure that people who have not collected their identity documents or those wanting to apply for temporary identity documents are able to do so.
Mamabolo said when registration figures are combined with new registrations during the March 2018 registration weekend, about 1.1 million new voters have been added to the voters’ roll ahead of the upcoming elections.
“Of these new voters, 52% are women and 48% are men. Nearly half [49.2%] are aged [between] 20 and 29, 29.6% are aged [between] 18 and 19 and 5.9% are aged [between] 16 and 17,” he said.
KZN records the highest number of new registrations
Mamabolo said over the past weekend, KwaZulu-Natal registered the highest number of new registrations with 246 847. Gauteng recorded the second highest number of new registrations with 236 287, followed by the Eastern Cape, where 130 959 registrations were recorded.
In terms of the voters’ roll, Gauteng has the most registered voters (6.3 million or 23.8%) of the total voters’ roll, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (5.5 million or 20.7%), Eastern Cape (3.3 million or 12.6%), Western Cape (3.1 million or 11.7%), Limpopo (2.6 million or 9.75%), Mpumalanga (1.9 million or 7.3%), North West (1.7 million or 6.3%), Free State (1.4 million or 5.47%) and the Northern Cape (625 968 or 2.34%).
“In addition to new registrations, 1 078 416 voters used the voter registration weekend to register in a new voting district and 690 310 voters confirmed their registration in the same voting district,” Mamabolo said.
He said in total, 2 472 520 voters were assisted at South Africa’s 22 925 voting stations over the weekend. Of these, 65% visited a voting station on Sunday with a last-minute rush over the final few hours.
“Based on the latest voting age population estimates from Statistics South Africa, the current voters’ roll reflects a total registration by 74.5% of the eligible population.
“The Electoral Commission is pleased with the overall registration level which remains high by international standards for countries with a voluntary registration system. However, the Commission remains concerned that approximately nine million eligible voters are still not registered, of which six million are under 30 years old.”
Mamabolo said, meanwhile, that eligible voters who missed an opportunity to register this weekend still have a window of opportunity to register at IEC offices before the President proclaims the election date.