The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) in KwaZulu-Natal said they expected their final statistics to show that more than 400000 people visited voting stations in the province to either update details or register over the voter registration weekend, with a fifth of these being young or first-time voters.
The national and provincial general elections are scheduled between May and August next year, with President Cyril Ramaphosa expected to promulgate the date after meeting with the IEC.
The electoral commission’s chief electoral officer in KZN, Ntombifuthi Masinga, said four out of the 4973 voting stations did not open on time on Sunday.
“It was a busy day with some opening around 11am, including ward 23 in Nkosi Langalibelele Municipality in Estcourt Municipality and ward 12 in Nkandla Municipality, where communities blocked access to voting stations but they eventually opened.
“Two voting stations in Jozini opened late because the area managers had a problem with vehicles but we deployed someone else to collect the materials.”
Masinga said more than 200000 people showed up at voting stations on Saturday to either register for the first time or update their details.
“Out of these, 19% were first-time voters and those made up over 38000 of those who turned up on the first day.”
Masinga said the rest were people who updated their registration status or provided new contact details or a new address if people had moved.
The IEC said in a statement on Sunday that by 12.30 midday, some 108878 registrations had been recorded in the province.
Nationally, over a million registrations were recorded by the close of day one of the registration weekend.
Masinga said fewer than 20 voting stations did not open on time on Saturday, including a venue in Howick in the uMngeni Municipality where a tent blew away overnight due to heavy rain.
She said voting stations had been delayed by protests in Impendle, Nkosi Langalibalele, Msinga, Kwadukuza, Mkhambathini Municipality and Kokstad.
“We worked closely with the SAPS and all voting stations eventually opened in the province.”
ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe led the party’s registration VOTER REGISTRATION ‘Smooth sailing at most voting stations in KZN campaign drive and visited some registration points in the province on Sunday, saying he was not too concerned about the trickle of movement and that this would change in the build-up to next year’s election.
“It is a quick process, so you are not going to see long queues with the registration,” said Mantashe.
IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said he was pleased with the political environment he had witnessed between supporters of different political parties.
“The political atmosphere between the IFP, ANC and EFF was conducive, and in some areas people were singing the same song. They were singing together and dancing and when I went to greet people at an ANC table, the attitude and spirit was good and this created a good environment,” he said.
EFF provincial chairperson Mongezi Twala said there were no tensions reported, although they would be reporting two issues to the IEC.
“There were no serious cases reported except a presiding officer in a voting station went and sat outside with ANC volunteers.
“And in uMhlathuze’s ward 4, a presiding officer allowed people to bring in multiple identity documents to check if people were registered –otherwise it was smooth sailing.”
Twala said they hadn’t seen independents or smaller parties at voting stations. “Our general observation is that there is a serious reluctance from people in coming out and we have to do more work to encourage the youth to register and vote.”
DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers said they were pleased with the registration weekend.
“We have been on the ground for a year identifying people who are aligned to our party but were not registered. We have been able to get those people to register.”
He said there were a few “hiccups” on Saturday, with people turned away from some voting districts and redirected elsewhere, but the IEC had resolved this.