A total of 1577 voting stations will be open across the Western Cape during this weekend’s final voter registration weekend.

This is the final weekend voters have to register or change their details. More than 1500 voting stations will be open across the Western Cape on Saturday and Sunday. They will be open for registrations from 8am until 5pm.

It’s all systems go for the weekend’s voter registration drive. Residents can also register online. Provincial Electoral Officer for the IEC, Michael Hendrickse, says staff capacity has been boosted for the registrations as well as for the elections.

He was speaking during a virtual provincial IEC briefing.

“For the registration weekend, we have recruited and trained 3290 registration staff and in addition for the preparation of this registration weekend as well as for the preparation and delivery of our elections that will take place in November. We have also contracted additional staff on short-term contracts.”

Hendrickse says strict COVID-19 safety protocols will be adhered to at all voting stations.

“Strict social distancing practices both outside and inside the venues will be practiced. The mandatory wearing of a mask for any person entering our voting stations, we will apply hand sanitizer to all persons entering and exiting the voting stations and our staff will be wearing protective equipment and gear such as masks, gloves and face shields.”

During the online briefing, Hendrickse also stressed that voters will not be required to be vaccinated, in order to register to vote or to vote.

The deadline for registrations is the 20th of September when the voters’ roll will be closed.

KZN ready for registrations

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) says it is ready for the two-day voter registration ahead of the local government elections (LGE) on the 1st of November.

KZN Electoral Operations Manager, Ntombifuthi Masinga has urged eligible voters to double-check their personal information as some might have been affected by new boundaries of the  Municipal Demarcation Board.

The province has 901 wards to be contested on the 1st of November 2021. Masinga says they have over 11 000 workers who will be working at their voting stations.

The provincial IEC says the entire province has pockets of hotspots, in which communities have held protests against the demarcation of their wards. Masinga says areas such as Inanda, where three women were killed in a drive-by shooting incident, have somehow got more attention.

Masinga says they are constantly holding meetings with the security cluster to assess the situation in the province.

“We have weekly security briefings with the security cluster. We have highlighted areas that we deem as hotspots in the province, it is not only areas that were affected by the unrest but it’s areas where there is dissatisfaction with the manner in which the Municipal Demarcation Board has drawn ward boundaries. It is actually across the province, there is no municipality that doesn’t have a community that is not unhappy with the manner in which the ward boundary was drawn in one pocket of that municipality. I think because we had an incident in eThekwini municipality in that meeting where a party affiliating the party candidate nomination process, it seems to have gained more prominence.”

The provincial IEC says there’s an increase of independent candidates to contest wards in the upcoming local government elections.

Masinga elaborates, “There has been an increase in the number of independent candidates. For example, it is currently sitting at 230, which is the highest number we have ever seen in the province and we are still counting because we are only closing on Monday. We expect more submissions between now and then which is the significant growth from where we came from the two digits numbers in 2011 for example. For us to be sitting at 230 we also expect because there has been a rare opportunity where members of political parties have learned about the candidate nominations in their party and suddenly there is another opportunity for them to come back.  What we have noticed people do come back as independent candidates.”

The IEC will be using a new technology called Voter Management Device to replace the old zip-zip scanner.

Masinga also says they’ll be able to verify addresses more efficiently.

“Mentioning our famous Voter Management Device which has replaced our famous zip-zip in our voting stations, it will be the first time that we use it in a big event like this one where we introduce new technology at the voting station level which will provide a facility to verify voter details online, on the spot to tell us whether the address you are giving us places you in a ward where you believe you reside as a voter. It is an exciting development on our side that will short circuit the process it ordinarily takes to register a voter. All that registration verification, we are linked online with Home Affairs at the time. You leave the voting station you will know whether you have been accepted as a voter. Your citizenship has been verified with Home Affairs and we have placed you in a correct segment of the voters roll.”

All voting stations will be opened at eight in the morning and closed at 17:00 on both days.