SA registers over 1-million new voters

13 November 2013

South Africa registered over one-million first-time voters last weekend, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula said on Tuesday.

Addressing the media in Centurion outside Pretoria, Tlakula said the voter registration weekend had gone smoothly, with 2 512 219 people being assisted at the country’s 22 263 registration stations.

“Of these, 1 088 015 (43%) were new voters registering for the first time. Their commitment to democracy has helped boost the overall registration levels to almost 77% of eligible voters, up from 73.6% before the weekend,” she said.

The IEC chairperson said a further 1.7-million people (46.6%) used the opportunity to change their existing registration to a different voting station, and about 10.1% (253 098) re-registered at their existing voting station.

Tlakula said the number of registered voters aged 18 to 19 tripled, from 167 535 prior to the weekend to 434 370. The registration percentage of 22.6% for this age group remained the lowest, and there was a need to attract a new generation of voters to the poll, she said.

In terms of gender, the new registrations were in line with the general population in South Africa, with 53% being women and 47% being men.

According to Tlakula, KwaZulu-Natal had the highest voter registration turnout with 620 864, followed by Gauteng (572 395), Eastern Cape (339 614), Western Cape (295 497), Mpumalanga (197 551), Limpopo (178 800), Free State (140 304), North West (116 438) and the Northern Cape (50 756).

“We encourage all those who have not yet done so to register at our offices, which are situated mainly at municipal buildings, before next year’s general elections.”

She said the IEC was deciding whether there would be another voter registration weekend.

The IEC has set a target of getting two-million new registrations by the time the voters’ roll closes before next year’s general elections.