Phuti Mosomane and Johnathan Paoli
THE Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)’s Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo says the IEC has interacted with 2.9 million voters during the two-day registration weekend which took place from 18 to 19 November 2023.
In a media briefing on Monday, Mamabolo said the majority of voters, 2.7 million, visited voting stations to register, as well as update their details. A total of 196 511 voters used the online portal to do the same.
He said the innovations and efficiencies introduced by the Voter Management Device (VMD) have increased the speed at which voter registration applications are processed.
With the VMD, particulars of voters who attended to voting stations over the weekend have now been processed and address details captured onto the voter’s roll.
“Before the introduction of the VMD, it would have taken months to capture address details of voters following a registration event. The VMD processed 834 474 live transactions, while 1 872 352 transactions were captured and later processed. This is testament to the soundness of providing for a mode that enables the VMD to operate in varied connectivity environments,” he said.
The total registration activity over the two days was 2 904 037. Eligible citizens registering for the first time were 568 374.
The electoral body this accounts for 19.57% of total registration activity. Voters who re-registered in the same voting district numbered 1.4 million, and those who re-registered in a different voting districts were 929 564.
Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape recorded the most registration transactions. The provincial breakdown is as follows:
Gauteng: 610 948
KwaZulu-Natal: 559 933
Eastern Cape: 516 547
Limpopo: 332 557
Mpumalanga: 225 074
Western Cape: 227 620
North West: 184 902
Free State: 173 612
Northern Cape: 72 844.
The national voters’ roll now has 26,8 million voters, an increase from 26.3 million before the registration weekend.
Gauteng continues to be inhabited by the majority of the country’s population, as well as being the largest voting block at 6.2 million registered voters.
Young persons in the age category 16-29 account for 445 089, or 78.31%, of the 568 374 new voters.
“Therefore, the Commission’s continued focus on young persons is producing a good yield. The Commission will persist with efforts to improve the registration levels of the youth.”
“The well entrenched trend of there being more females on the voters’ roll continues. Of the new registrations, 298 500, or 52.52%, were female,” Mamabolo added.
Since its inception in July 2021, the online registration portal has proven to be a success for the IEC.
Over the Registration Weekend, 196 511 transactions were recorded online. The provinces with the highest online registrations are Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
He added that the Commission is seized with resolving some online registrations that gave a “pending” message. The “pending” message is received by voters in instances where the ID image that they have uploaded cannot be read or recognised by the system, or where an image other than an ID has been uploaded.
He urged voters to take extra care and follow system prompts when uploading images of their ID.
The online registration portal remains available and citizens are urged to continue to use this platform to update their particulars and register to vote.
During the weekend, political parties were out in force in major cities across the country, with President Cyril Ramaphosa in Tshwane leading the ANC’s voter registration drive, and EFF leader Julius Malema in Gauteng on Sunday.
The DA’s John Steenhuisen was in Cape Town encouraging people to register to vote, while the IFP’s Velenkosini Hlabisa was in KwaZulu-Natal.
IEC Commissioner Judge Dhayanithie Pillay praised the turnout and said that it exceeded expectations.
“Numbers show and the anecdote report we are getting shows that there is a great uptake in the number of registrations. The participation exceeded our expectations even on the first day, we set the target of 1 million for the weekend but we hit that target last night.
“So I think people are taking the theme of these elections that ‘We must own our democracy’ quite seriously, and responding to that campaign message, so we are very pleased about that,” Pillay said.
Another voter registration weekend is expected to open next year closer to the election, as well as online registration remains open 24/7 until the election.