IEC is considering electronic registration for future elections

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The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it is considering electronic registration for future elections. It says an announcement will be made soon in this regard.

IEC Commissioners and officials appeared in a virtual briefing before Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee about its 2019/2020 annual report.

“It is correct that the commission is considering additional modalities of voter registration and we confirm that there will be an electronic registration modality introduced, supported by safeguards to ensure that the person who actually registered is the person who claims today. So there are safeguards that will be inbuilt into that programme. An announcement in that regard will be made by the commission,” IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo told Members of Parliament.

This comes as the country gears up for Wednesday’s by-elections and the local government polls to be held in October.

IEC open to election postponement:

Mamabolo says the electoral body does not know what impact COVID-19 will have on the voter turnout in the LGE. He says the performance on local government election turnout has always been better than the general election one.

The commission says it’s good for the country to have an increase in voter turnout with each election year, but it does not know how people will react to the COVID-19 realities this year.

“We are experiencing a decline in national and provincial elections. But that phenomenon is not applicable in local government elections, because of these facts: In 2011 we were able to improve voter turnout from 48% to 58% and we retained that turnout in 2016. But as I sit here now – I don’t know what the impact of COVID-19 is going to have on turnout.

If all things were equal, in other words, if there was no COVID-19, as a commission we would have pushed very hard through our programmes; voter education, communication programmes and so on to push that into the 60% arena,” he added.


In Limpopo, the electoral commission says more than 20 000 people have registered to cast their votes in the by-elections that will take place in the Polokwane, Makhado, Fetakgomo-Tubatse and Mogalakwena municipalities.

The provincial electoral officer, Nkaro Mateta, says seven political parties will be contesting for the four wards, which had previously belonged to the ANC.

“We are talking about more than 23 000 people that have registered to participate in all the four by-elections and we are hopeful that they will come out in their numbers. We have in total 13 candidates because the political parties in most cases are the same. So really, the choice is wide. We comply with the protocol of COVID-19,” says Mateta.

Some residents at Masodi Village, outside Mokopane, say they want a councillor who will put their interests at heart.

“We are ready to vote each and everything but the councillor that we have to put in forward for us suppose to take care of us,” says one resident.

“I’m ready to vote. We are not getting services. We need the councillor who can assist us with a road, water,” adds another community member.

In total, 40 by-elections will take place in 25 municipalities across the country on Wednesday. Most of the polls will be held in Gauteng. – Additional reporting by Michael Makungo

Discussing IEC’s readiness for upcoming by-elections and local govt polls with Natasha Phiri: