17 Nov 2023 | IEC
Electoral Commission Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo has called on all adult South Africans to seize the moment by registering as voters this coming weekend.
The Voter Registration Weekend will take place on 18 and 19 November 2023.
“Only those who are on the voters’ roll can have a say in the electoral outcomes next year,” Mamabolo said at a briefing on Wednesday.
Mamabolo said the delivery of essential voter registration materials, including voter management devices (VMDs), stationery packs, arrow signs and document storage boxes, have been provisioned and delivered 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.
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 our logistics value chain. Since the Commission launched the online registration portal in July 2021, a total of 1.1 million registration transactions have been recorded.
“The portal has experienced a hive of activity this year, with 52% of all transactions being recorded in the 11 months of the year. New registrations amount to 40.6% of total online registration activity.
“Once again, women are the majority users of the online portal at 56%. Young persons under the age of 29 indicate a strong usage level at 49.6%. We have noted the pronouncements of arrangements by the Department of Home Affairs to open its offices last weekend, as well this weekend, to allow citizens to collect identity documents.
“We thank the department for affording eligible citizens the maximum opportunity to enlist on the voters’ roll,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo also called on those who have not yet decided to vote to at least be on the voters’ roll because their choice can only be recorded if they are registered.
“The Commission encourages registered voters to check the correctness of their details by visiting registration stations over the weekend. This is crucial because with the amendments to prescripts, voters may only vote in the voting district in which they are registered.
“Deviation from this general rule is only available on pre-notification to the Chief Electoral Officer by a date to be regulated in terms of the election Timetable,” he said.
Mamabolo said VMDs are the mainstay technology for the delivery of the registration process.
The VMDs were first introduced in 2021 and have since undergone significant improvements based on lessons that were evinced by previous electoral events. Accordingly, the operating system for these devices has now been enhanced.
“The devices are designed to operate online via an Access Point Network (APN). However, all three applications have been coded to operate offline in a number of instances, including when there is insufficient connectivity with the central database.
“A dry-run was conducted on 28 October to assess the functionality of the devices, as well as the infrastructure that underpins its functionality. Again, optimisations have been effected in the light of the insights arising from the dry-run exercise,” Mamabolo said.
Over 69 718 staff have been recruited and trained for this registration weekend. Out of these appointed staff, 53 028 are female and 16 690 are male. In addition, 35 640 registration staff are under the age of 35, whilst 26 475 are between ages 36 and 50. Crucially, 50 213 of the total staff complement are unemployed persons.
According to the Electoral Commission, there are a further 959 temporary voting stations across the country. The majority of temporary stations are found in Gauteng at 204, followed by the Free State at 180 and Limpopo at 150. There are also 33 mobile voting stations.
Mamabolo said the opening of all registration stations this weekend provides equal opportunity to all South Africans to access the voter registration process.
There are at 23 296 registration stations across the country and that registration stations will operate between 08h00 and 17h00 on both days.
Last month, the Electoral Commission of South Africa formally launched the 2024 National and Provincial Elections (NPE 2024) programme as a means of declaring its readiness to host millions of eligible voters at over 23 296 voting stations across the country next year.
According to the Electoral Commission, the NPE 2024 will be historic, as independent candidates will, for the first time, be able to contest for seats in the national and provincial elections.