SA voters abroad: first-time registration ‘soon’

8 November 2013

South Africans living abroad will be able to register for the 2014 elections as soon as new legislation governing out-of-country registration and voting has been approved, says the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The draft law does not require South Africans living abroad who are already registered as voters in South Africa to register again, and they will, as before, be able to cast a special vote in the 2014 elections.

However, those who have not yet registered to vote will have to wait for the new legislation, which is expected to be enacted in November.

“Only once the Electoral Amendment Bill 2013 is approved by Parliament and signed into law by the President can arrangements for registering South Africans abroad be finalised,” the IEC said in a statement on Thursday.

The Bill has been approved by the National Council of Provinces and is currently before the National Assembly.

“It is hoped the Bill will be approved and enacted before the end of November. In the meantime, advance planning for the process is proceeding in conjunction with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation,” the commission said.

In terms of the draft legislation, South Africans will have to register in person at one of South Africa’s 124 high commissions, embassies or consulates located in 108 countries. They will need to be in possession of a valid South African ID document (either a green bar-coded South African ID book, a new smart ID card or a valid temporary identity certificate), as well as a valid South African passport, in order to be registered.

The IEC said it will announce further details of the registration process for South Africans abroad on its website and via the media once the legislation has been enacted.