The Independent Electorate Commission (IEC) has set its target to register at least one million eligible voters this weekend as it prepares for the first general registration weekend for the upcoming 2024 National and Provincial Elections.
The IEC has secured and equipped 23,296 registration stations across South Africa to welcome voters to register between 8am and 5pm this weekend, November 18 and 19.
Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo said they have also engaged with the country’s security cluster to ensure no disruptions take place at voter registration stations.
The recently released Census 2022 results indicated that South Africa’s population has grown to 62 million people, with an estimated 39.7 million voting age population.
The voters’ roll currently stands at 26.2 million representing 66% of the estimated voting age population.
“We are approaching this registration weekend informed by the national imperative to increase the coverage of the voters’ roll in all dimensions,” said Mamabolo.
Lease agreements for the permanent voting stations have also been signed and concluded. Of these, 62% are schools, 9.7% are places of worship and the balance of 28% include community halls and other municipal infrastructure.
There are a further 959 temporary voting stations across the country. The majority of temporary stations are found in the province of Gauteng at 204, followed by the Free State at 180 and Limpopo at 150.
There are also 33 mobile voting stations.
Over 69,718 staff have been recruited and trained for this registration weekend. Out of these appointed staff, 53,028 are women and 16,690 are men. In addition, 35,640 registration staff are under the age of 35, while 26,475 are between ages 36 and 50. The balance of 7,603 are 51-years-old and above.
Crucially, 50,213 of the total staff complement are unemployed persons, Mamabolo confirmed.
The operating system for the Voter Management Devices (VMD’s) have also been enhanced. The devices were designed to operate online via an Access Point Network (APN), however, it has also been coded to operate offline in a number of instances, including when there is insufficient connectivity with the central database.
This will also assist in times of load shedding as the VMD’s would continue to operate via its built-in battery.
Mamabolo said the delivery of essential voter registration materials, including VMD’s, stationery packs, arrow signs, and document storage boxes, have been completed across all provinces.
“Importantly, the registration process does not require the completion of forms at the station and therefore limited time will be spent at the station for actual registration,” Mamabolo said.
The voters’ roll, as it existed at the beginning of October 2023, has been printed and delivered to municipalities. Approximately 260 tons of equipment and material has been handled through the IECs logistics value chain.
The Department of Home Affairs is also expected to keep its doors open this weekend to allow citizens to collect identity documents.
These offices will be open between 8am and 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
“The Electoral Commission makes an impassioned call on adult South Africans to seize the moment by registering as voters. Only those who are on the voters’ roll can have a say in the electoral outcomes next year.
“Even if you have not as yet decided to vote, it is still important to be on the voters’ roll because your choice can only be recorded if you are registered,” Mamabolo stressed.
Importantly, the Commission also encouraged registered voters to check the correctness of their details by visiting registration stations over the weekend. This was crucial because with the amendments to prescripts, voters may only vote in the voting district in which they are registered.
Mamabolo warned that a deviation from this general rule was only available on pre-notification to the Chief Electoral Officer by a date yet to be communicated.
The IEC contact centre would be available on 080-011-8000 and if you need more information, you can register on WhatsApp chat by sending “hi” to 060-088-0000.