Slow start for day one of voter registration

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Day one of the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) voter registration weekend, which got off to a slow start, saw youth in the Pretoria North area heed the call to register to vote in the upcoming elections. 

Second year Human Resources student Ntokozo Cele, who came to register to vote in the upcoming national elections, said she was not initially keen on registering to vote but found the process very pleasant.

“I found my experience to be very pleasant. I think it’s important for the youth to cast their vote because if you don’t cast your vote you don’t have much of a say. If you want to have a voice in how the country is run, it’s important to cast your vote,” said the 20-year-old on Saturday.

Cele was accompanied by her parents who had come to check on their registration details at the voting station located at Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz in the final hours of day one of the registration drive.

IEC registration supervisor at the school, Thuli Dijoe, said the first day has been a slow one with a few people trickling in.

“The first day of the final time we are giving for registration has been slow, compared to the number of people we have on our voters’ roll of above 2000,” said the 25-year-old.

“Only 100 people have pitched as of 4:20pm this afternoon. Only 100 people have come to check their details inclusive of those who have registered for the final voter registration drive,” said Dijoe.

Speaking to SAnews after registering to cast his vote at the nearby Pretoria North City Hall, 35-year-old Onke Saki said South Africa is predominantly made up of young people.

“For the youth it’s very important to register to vote, isn’t it that we are told that the country belongs to the youth? So it’s imperative for them to vote so that they can change the status of the country. Their vote matters most so that they can have a voice.”

Saki, who has voted before registered his details to cast his ballot for the first time at city hall, described the registering process as “quite an experience because it is an important step” in the running of a country.

“It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to the elections,” said Saki.

At a media briefing earlier in the day, the IEC confirmed that approximately 99% of the 22 925 voting stations across the country opened on time during the final voter registration weekend.

The Commission’s Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said a steady stream of eligible voters were visiting stations to register and update their registration details.

“As at 11am today, approximately 140 voting stations (0.6%) around the country were not yet open due to community protests,” Mamabolo said.

The Electoral Commission has expressed appreciation for the rights of South Africans to protest peacefully and raise issues of concern.

It appealed to all communities to exercise this right in a way which does not deny the rights of other citizens to register to vote.

The drive to register to vote is set to continue tomorrow. -