7 November 2013
South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has set a target of securing two-million new registrations by the time the voters’ roll closes before next year’s general elections.
“Through its registration drive, the IEC hopes to increase registrations to 80% of the voting-age population, in line with levels of previous elections, which would require an additional two million voters to register,” IEC chairperson Advocate Pansy Tlakula told SAnews on Wednesday.
Voter registration readiness
Tlakula said everything is ready for eligible voters at the IEC’s 22 263 registration stations, which will operate between 8am and 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
All registration materials have been delivered to eight metropolitan councils and 226 local municipal councils, and will be delivered over the next two days to the registration stations for the opening on Saturday morning, she added.
The voting districts represent an almost 7% increase over the 20 859 districts in place for the 2011 local government election.
The growth reflects an expansion of voting districts in predominantly rural areas, to reduce the distance required for voters to travel to voting stations. The increases are 15% in the Free State, 10% in Limpopo and 9% each in the North West and KwaZulu-Natal.
Registering to vote
The Department of Home Affairs has agreed to open its branches on Saturday and Sunday, to coincide with the registration station hours for the collection of ID books, smartcard IDs or temporary identity certificates.
Tlakula said a total of 45 795 election officials will be standing by to register new voters, and to verify the registration details of existing voters. To register, eligible voters need to be in possession of a green bar-coded ID book, or a temporary ID certificate, or the new smart card ID.
Encouraging students to take time out to vote, Tlakula said: “Our voter registration process is very quick, and I’m sure that even those young people who are preparing for their exams can take a few minutes to visit our registration stations in their respective areas, in order to register for next year’s general elections”.
“Almost 30 000 zip-zap [automatic scanner] machines have undergone testing and battery checks to ensure they are ready for the weekend,” she said. “The machines will be in an optimal functional condition as a result of these testing procedures they have undergone.”
Registration stations are located at a wide variety of premises which are leased by the Electoral Commission for registration weekends and voting days. These include schools (65%), community and civic halls (10%), places of worship (7%) and other community venues.
Approximately 7% will use temporary facilities including tents and other temporary structures. There will also be 30 mobile registration stations, which will be used in rural areas.
Currently the Free State has the higher percentage of voter registration at 80%, followed by the Eastern Cape (79.6%), Northern Cape (77.6%), Limpopo (77.0%), KwaZulu-Natal (75.0%) and North West (73.5%).
The provinces with the lowest registration percentages are Mpumalanga (70.3%), Western Cape (70.3%) and Gauteng (69.2%).