More than 700 000 people registered this weekend to cast their votes in the upcoming national and provincial elections. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - More than 700000 people registered this weekend to cast their votes in the upcoming national and provincial elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it was pleased that the final registration weekend brought the total number of registered voters on the voters roll to 26727921.

IEC chief executive Sy Mamabolo said: “Most encouragingly, of the 703794 new registrations, over 81%, or 574899, are under 30 years old. This means that the youth have heeded the call to register.”

He said combined with new registrations during the March 2018 registration weekend, the voters roll had seen 1194314 new voters added ahead of the upcoming elections.

Of these new voters, 52% were women and 48% men. Nearly half - 49.2% - were aged 20 to 29, 26.6% were 18 to 19 and 5.9% between 16 and 17, Mamabolo said.

“Based on the latest voting age population estimates from Statistics SA, the current voters roll reflects a total registration by 74.5% of the eligible population.

“The Electoral Commission is pleased with the overall registration level, which remains high by international standards for countries with a voluntary registration system.

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

The Western Cape registered more than 3million people on the voters’ roll, while Gauteng has the highest number of more than 6million people on the voters roll.

Mamabolo said the number of people registered was not far off the norm. He said with previous elections, the number had been hovering between 75 and 78%.

“The Electoral Commission hopes young voters will make use of the short window of opportunity ahead of proclamation to still register at local IEC offices. Once the elections were proclaimed, expected during February, the voters roll would close for these elections,” he said.

A total of 285 parties had registered for South Africa’s national elections, while there were more than 600 parties contesting the provincial and municipal elections.

Many political parties had yet to make their deposits to the commission to contest.

“The Western Cape always attracts a higher number with regard to political party participation.

“In 2016 we used different ballot papers compared to other provinces - a two-column formatted ballot paper which presented logistical challenges,” said Mamabolo, referring to the provincial elections.

He said the same could be expected this year.

IEC Commissioner Janet Love said they were still to wrap up their social media awareness campaign and had already engaged with parties about misrepresentation on such platforms.

She said a directorate had been set up to investigate complaints of misrepresentation on social media.

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Cape Argus