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An increase in youth representation in one of the highest voters’ roll registered since 2011 has been recorded –  IEC

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Johnathan Paoli

THE Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said at a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday that 27.4 million South African citizens have thus far been registered, meaning a 1.2% growth since the mean of 2011 at 23.6 million following the second and final weekend of voter registration.

IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo said with the recent addition of 1.2 million new voters, many of whom are first-time voters, the elections of 2024 would prove to be historic.

The commission said it had noted an increase in the representation of young people on the voters’ roll compared to previous elections, with 48% of young people between the ages of 20 and 29 have registered to vote for this year’s election, indicating an improvement in the interest of young voters to participate in the polls.

Mamabolo said that this year’s growth proved to be the second highest, after a growth of 1.8 million in 2014.

The CEO said that citizens who required assistance in relation to disabilities would be accommodated (braille templates), and others will be allowed to bring family members or friends in order to assist.

Mamabolo said that the two registration weekends have given the country a growth of 1.2 million on the voters’ roll, bringing the number of registered voters to 27.4 million.

The next phase of the electoral programme would surround the issues relating to the distribution of the 200 regional seats for the National Assembly, involving consultation with the people, and announced that the period for public submissions would close on 20 February.

“This work is an important precursor to candidate nomination as it will enable political parties to know how many candidates they can field within each respective region to the national list,” Mamabolo said.

The commission confirmed that registration would remain open until the proclamation of the voting date and that it would eminently publish its determination of the number of seats in each legislature following a period of public consultations as well as data to each region and province

The National and Provincial Elections (NPE) 2024 will mark the first general election since 1994 where independent candidates will be included on the ballot, as set out in the Electoral Amendment Act 1 of 2023.

The Act makes provision for 200 national and another 200 regional or compensatory seats in the National Assembly (NA)

Independent candidates will only contest for the 200 regional seats, while political parties can contest all 400 seats in the National Assembly.

Independent candidates will be required to submit signatures totaling 15% of the National or Regional seat quotas as proof of their candidature support. Only signatures of registered voters are permissible.

In addition, these candidates will be required to deposit R15 000 to contest a seat in the provincial legislature, and R20 000 will be required for a regional seat in the National Assembly.

An independent candidate may be nominated to contest in one or more regions, but may only be elected to one seat of the National Assembly or Provincial Legislature.

President Cyril Ramaphosa approved the Electoral Amendment Act 1 of 2023 in April 2023, enabling the participation of independent candidates in the upcoming elections.

In conclusion, Mamabolo said that an online portal to capture signatures supporting nomination to contest elections was now available for unrepresented parties and independent candidates.

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