IEC confirms voters living abroad will be eligible to register this weekend

IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya. Picture: Masi Losi

IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya. Picture: Masi Losi

Published Jan 23, 2024


The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has confirmed that voters living abroad would be eligible to register to vote in the upcoming general elections.

The IEC has said the online registration portal would open this Friday to Sunday.

IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya, speaking to Newzroom Afrika, said that this weekend, more than two million South Africans living abroad would be able to make their mark this election period.

He said that with the world becoming a global village, it had become much easier for those living outside the country to cast their votes.

“The world is becoming more complex but also, there are a multiplicity of solutions. I can’t imagine if we were doing this 10 years ago, we would be required to print thousands of forms and send them to all the 120 intermissions abroad and train people. Then we would be required to communicate with millions of South Africans who are spread across those 120 countries.”

Moepya said South Africans who resided outside the country were usually registered through embassies abroad.

“When we register our people, we register them through our embassies, missions and consulates. That is where we are limited. One would have to communicate with all of those citizens in those countries and … get them to come to the missions. Today, it is a little easier, but requires a lot of work.“

He said the country has systems in place to ensure a free and fair elections, even for those who were outside the country.

“We have to develop systems and allow persons to register themselves. These systems enable people to register online and we currently have that. We are able to also communicate with South Africans living abroad, on digital and online platforms but also take limited advertisements in those countries.”

Last month, the DA Abroad welcomed the indications from the IEC that overseas online registration would be going live soon.

DA Abroad chairperson Ludre Stevens said it was important for South Africans living abroad to exercise their right to vote.

“With almost two million citizens overseas in various capacities, including for study, work, holiday or living permanently, this mechanism will ensure unprecedented opportunities to register and to vote.

“The IEC further indicated that three-consecutive days of overseas registration will take place in January 2024 at South African Embassies and Missions abroad for in-person registration, with the dates yet to be confirmed,” Stevens added.

The Star