23 million South Africans registered to vote

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pretoria - There are 23 million South Africans registered to vote in the provincial and general elections set for 22 April 2009.

This number, says the Independent Electoral Commission, exceeds the target it had set itself of registered South Africans listed on the voters roll.

"I am pleased to announce that the final registration weekend has led to a 3.16 million increase in the number of registered voters. I am proud to announce that the voter's roll as of today contains the names of just over 23 million voters," said the IEC's Chairperson Dr Brigalia Bam in Pretoria on Wednesday.

She was releasing figures of the final voter registration weekend which saw a higher than expected number of South Africans visiting the 19 000 voting stations across the country to register to vote.

"We had 3 378 969 visits which is only slightly lower than the 3 694 656 visits we had during the registration weekend in November last year," said Dr Bam, explaining that usually there was a much lower turnout over the second voter registration weekend.

A total of 1 508 642 new registrations were recorded over the past weekend of which 78.3 percent were from South Africans younger than 30 years old.

A further 1 653 216 voters corrected their details or re-registering in a new voting district. A total of 217 111 persons registered in the same voting district in which they were previously registered.

Dr Bam said this was indicative of a successful information campaign by the IEC in the press, bill boards and posters. The IEC had also employed democracy education workers to engage the public and promote registration among eligible voters.

"It would be true to say that the vibrancy of the party political scene at the moment also contributed to the outstanding enthusiasm of the public to get them correctly registered as voters for the upcoming elections.

"All this bodes well for a high turnout at the elections and that will be good for democracy in our country," she said, adding that the voter's roll will be in good shape for the elections on 22 April later this year.

Dr Bam thanked all IEC staff members for their dedication and vibrancy as well as the active promotion of registration activities by political parties and the enthusiasm of the public in ensuring such a positive result.

The registration of voters is still continuing at respective municipal electoral offices until the proclamation of the elections by President Kgalema Motlanthe. Although the President announced 22 April as the date, he stopped short of proclaiming the date.

Once the election date is proclaimed, the voters roll is closed.

Potential voters or registered voters who need information on where to register or who want to check their registration details should call the IEC call centre toll free number 0800 11 8000 or SMS their ID number to 32810.

In the 1999 general elections, there were 18.1 million people listed on the voters roll, the number increased to 20.6 million in 2004.