Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Fewer young voters registered - IEC

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Apr 7, 2021

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Cape Town - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has revealed that it was losing about 35 000 registered voters monthly from the voters roll while it was registering fewer young voters.

“If you look at 2019 and March (2021) figures, there has been a significant increase on a monthly basis. There is an average of 35 000 voters that are lost due to mortality,” chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said.

Briefing the cooperative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee, Mamabolo said the voters roll has 26.2 million registered voters last month.

He said there were 14.5 million female voters (55%) and 11.7 million (44%) male voters on the voters roll.

Gauteng has the most registered voters – 6.2 million, followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 5.4 million the Eastern Cape at 3.2 million, the Western Cape at 3 million, Limpopo at 2.5 million, Mpumalanga at 1.9 million, North West at 1.6 million, the Free State at 1.4 million and the Northern Cape at 617 008.

Mamabolo said there were only 54 000 registered voters aged 18 and 19 across all provinces.

“It is a challenge for us. We are working with the Department of Basic Education to do an annual programme of voter education in the schools in the month of April,” Mamabolo said. “We will launch that programme provincially in the not so distant future.”

He said part of the exercise included voter education classes as well registration of learners on the voters roll.

“We are working on introducing electronic registration modality with the necessary safeguards. The reason we do this is because, for most of young South Africans, their normal political conversations happen on mobile gadgets, be it iPad or smart phones,” the chief electoral officer said.

“Their own public engagement conversations don’t happen in community halls or on newspapers. They happen on social media platforms via smart phone. If you are to attract them into electoral experience of the country, you have to engage them at that level, so hence we provide for an opportunity, for everybody but in particular them electronically.”

Mamabolo said details about the initiative aimed at young voters would be launched by the IEC once the registration tool was completed.

“It is currently under development,” he said.

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Political Bureau

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