Concern voter registration weekend could trigger possible protests in Gauteng
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Johannesburg – The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in Gauteng expressed its concern on Friday that the voter registration weekend could trigger service delivery protests.
According to the IEC’s Thabo Masemola, they identified some potential hot spots after two successful meetings with the provincial authorities.
However, the IEC believes it has put the necessary measures in place to ensure the registration weekend will run without a hitch.
“A number of communities that are disgruntled, owing to service delivery, tend to protest. Communities in and around Gauteng are facing a shortage of water.
’’It is our considered view that those matters, if they remain unresolved, are likely to become a trigger of this weekend’s service delivery protests,” Masemola said.
At least 2 800 stations will open across the province at 8am on Saturday as the final voter registration weekend gets under way ahead of the elections on November 1. The police has been informed of the possible hot spots and been requested to provide security.
Following the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of an application by the IEC to postpone the elections until next year, the commission announced that voter and candidate registrations would be reopened.
IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said the commission had been working with the national joint operational and intelligence structure to ensure that there was safety at voter registration stations this weekend.
“We also had a priority committee meeting this morning where possible hot spots were identified and have been handed over to the SAPS, which will provide the necessary security for people. So nobody should be interrupted.
“If you are unhappy about any other process, be it from a political party or from the municipality, or any matter, it does not give you the right to disrupt any process.
’’So, we urge all communities across the country that this is not a process to disrupt, this is about people using their right to vote. This is a constitutional right, and you have no right to interfere with that,” said Mamabolo.
Aside from people going to physical registration sites over the weekend, Mamabolo said the commission had also launched an online registration portal in July, which people can use to register and confirm their registration.
The IEC has written to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi for him to facilitate a request to President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare the election day, November 1, a public holiday in order to allow for as many voters as possible to turn out, and not be restricted by work and other commitments.