2021 Local Elections


Sy Mamabolo: Young South Africans make up 91% of new voter registrations

Sy Mamabolo: Young South Africans make up 91% of new voter registrations
Sy Mamabolo, chief electoral officer of the Electoral Commission of South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Phill Magakoe)

The voter registration weekend elicited a ‘good response’ from the youth, with 91% of new registrations at the weekend coming from people aged 16 to 29.

Over 1.7 million voters registered during the special two-day registration weekend on 18 and 19 September. These included new registrations and voters who corrected their registration details. 

This was according to Sy Mamabolo, chief electoral officer of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), who on Monday spoke to the media about the outcome of the voter registration weekend

“The new registrations account for 433,198 applications…. 25% of the total registration activity,” said Mamabolo. The re-registrations account for 1.2 million applications, he said. 

The province with the highest number of registrations is KwaZulu-Natal with 358,384 applications. This is followed by Gauteng with 315,282 applications and Eastern Cape with 240,514 applications. 

Young persons in the age category 16 to 29 account for 402,401 of new registrations, which is 91%. Therefore, this registration effort has elicited a good response from young people,” said Mamabolo. 

He added that 52% of all new registrations were female voters, continuing the trend of increased female participation. 

Since its inception in July, the IEC’s online registration portal has processed 499,488 online applications. On Sunday, 121,414 applicants used the online portal to register. 

“Our expectation is that the use of the portal will remain on the top end for most of Monday, as people use the remaining hours to register,” said Mamabolo. 

Online registration is possible on the IEC’s voter portal and closes at midnight on Monday.

Mamabolo noted there were some technical issues with the online registration system but that the IEC was able to address the issues on short notice.

“Since last Wednesday, we experienced increased traffic on the online portal, and since we experienced those difficulties we have [increased] capacity and made certain technical changes,” said Mamabolo. 

“We are monitoring it on a 24-hour basis and where there are problems that emerge, we are able to intervene at short notice to ensure that there are no service disruptions,” he added. 

On Monday, the Constitutional Court dismissed, without costs, the Democratic Alliance’s application to set aside the IEC’s decision to reopen candidate registrations for the elections. 

ConCourt delivers lifeline to ANC after DA’s application to block reopening of candidate registrations fails

Addressing the media on Monday afternoon, Mamabolo welcomed the Constitutional Court’s judgment, which held that the decision of the IEC to reopen the candidate nomination process on Monday and Tuesday is not “unconstitutional” and “unlawful”. 

“The clarity provided by the Constitutional Court on this matter has laid a solid foundation for all parties to focus on preparing for the election,” said Mamabolo. 

Mamabolo further welcomed the proclamation of Election Day by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on Monday. “This legal act formally institutes the election phase in the reconstitution of municipal councils within the local sphere of government,” said Mamabolo. 

The minister’s proclamation of Election Day on 1 November 2021 allows the IEC to publish an amended election timetable – a consequence of the reopening of the registration process.  

The candidate nomination process will close at 5pm on Tuesday and the final list of candidates will be published on 29 September. 

Applications for special votes opened on Monday and will close on 4 October. Special votes will be cast on 30 and 31 October. 

You can apply for a special vote online on the IEC’s website

“Special votes in these elections are going to assume heightened importance because we do want to use special votes to depopulate voting stations on Election Day,” said Mamabolo. DM

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