South Africa


‘Youth have heeded the call to register’ – IEC

Independent Electoral Commission's CEO, Sy Mamabolo during a press conference outlining their readiness ahead of the final registration weekend on 23 January 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa. According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) CEO Sy Mamabolo, (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier)

Over 81% of new registrations recorded at the final registration weekend were under 30 years old. But now that the weekend is over, the IEC plans to visit tertiary institutions to get more youth to register and update their residential information for the country’s sixth democratic elections expected to be held in four months time.

Over 500,000 new registered voters were recorded over the final registration this past weekend, but the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will continue with its mission by going to tertiary institutions to register young voters.

The Electoral Commission will be undertaking registration drives at higher learning campuses in early February to boost further registrations,” said Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer of the IEC.

The planned IEC registration drives for tertiary students will take place across tertiary institutions next week – February 4 to 7, Reverend Courtney Sampson, the IEC’s Western Cape provincial electoral officer, said at a press briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

Sampson told Daily Maverick tertiary students who live at university residences, would need proof of identification (green bar-coded identity document, smart card or temporary ID) and would need to state their current address.

Mamabolo said over the last registration this past weekend, there were 703 794 new registered voters – of which 574 899 (over 80%) were under the age of 30. “This means that the youth have heeded the call to register,” said Mamabolo.

Combined with last May 2018’s first registration weekend, there are 1,194,314 new voters added to the voters roll.

SEE HERE: New Registrations Province_Age_March 2018 and January 2019_combined

Just over half of the new voters were women and nearly half of the new registered voter (49, 2%) were between the ages of 20 and 29.

With final voter registration weekend complete, the IEC said there are 26,727,921 voters on the 2019 national and provincial voters roll ahead of the elections.

But Mamabolo said the IEC was concerned that the current voter’s roll only reflects 74,5% of the eligible population.

However, the Electoral Commission is still concerned that approximately 9 million eligible voters are still not registered – of which approximately 6 million are under 30 years old,” said Mamabolo.

There is still time to register at IEC offices countrywide until the proclamation of the election date by President Cyril Ramaphosa, said Mamabolo.

In the 2014 general elections, voter turnout was at 73,48% – with 18,402,497 valid votes recorded in the country.

Young people between 18 and 19 accounted for 534,065 of these votes and between the ages of 20 to 29, there were 4,150,914 votes cast.

The IEC also has an online checking system for those wanting to check their voting district and update any information. It is available here.

The date of the sixth democratic elections is expected to be announced by the president in February. DM.

Read Daily Maverick’s previous article on the IEC elections launch:Missing youth vote leaves vacuum in SA democracy


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