The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in the Northern Cape says just over 1000 people have so far visited voting stations to register and update their details, ahead of the by-elections in eight municipalities in the province next month.
The Electoral Commission says they were expecting a higher number, as 20 wards in the province will have by-elections.
The IEC’S Elkin Topkins says the current COVID-19 pandemic might have played a role.
“The reasons for the lower than expected turn out may be a combination of factors in that voters are cautious and avoiding events where there are concentrations of people and then the commission also has an online facility and they may opt to register or re-register by using that facility which is available 24/7. In the case for this by-elections will be available until the 9th of October, in other words close of business this coming Friday,” says Topkins.
The IEC in KwaZulu-Natal says the number of people who have registered to vote for by-elections in the province is still very low. It says only 2 000 people in all 68 voting stations were registered in the province on Saturday.
Acting provincial IEC Commissioner, Ntombifuthi Masinga says the rainy weather conditions could be the main reason many people have not left their homes.
Masinga has encouraged communities to use the last day to go register.
“Everything went pretty much well in all our 68 voting stations in 12 wards in the province, the numbers were very low as expected and we don’t expect much change today. Out of all the nine municipalities, the activity was just below 2000 of people who came to voting stations, to either check their registration details or register as new voters.”
“The new registrations are about 740 and the rest are people who were either updating their addresses or who have come to check their names on the voters roll. Today, we still want to encourage people if they can to please go to the voting station. And then from today, we will then be advising those who couldn’t make it on the weekend on how they can use our other platforms to check their registration details, or visit our offices to register,” says Masinga.
IEC hard at work to ensure that voter registration runs smoothly this weekend:
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West says the online campaign that the IEC has launched is yielding positive results. The party says most eligible voters in the Potchefstroom-based JB Marks Local Municipality have taken advantage of online registrations to change their addresses. Six wards in the province are expected to participate in by-elections next month.
“A number of voters indicated that they have changed their addresses online and came in just to confirm. So rather a slow day but we will see what will happen as the political parties step up their campaign to get as many voters to register,” says Chris Hattingh, DA provincial leader.
The IEC in the Western Cape says voter registration is continuing with no major problems.
Eleven of the by-elections will be held in the Western Cape.
“Today is the second day of registration for the eleven wards where we will be having by-elections in the Western Cape on the eleventh of November. We opened the registration stations yesterday and people who live in those wards have an opportunity to go today to re-register, register for the first time or simply just to change their details or to check their details,” says Courtney Sampson, Provincial Chief Electoral Officer.
Voter registrations for by-elections kick-off: