Voter registration enters day two

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pretoria-The voter registration drive entered its second day on Sunday.

About 22 570 voting station venues across the country opened at 8am and will close at 5pm as the Electoral Commission of South Africa races to attract at least one million new voters ahead of the 2016 Local Government Elections scheduled for later in the year.

The commission has been assisting those voters who have never before registered to register for the first time; those who need to re-register because they have changed voting stations as a result of moving place, or thos people who have been affected by changes in ward or voting districts. 

The electoral commission has reminded voters that they must be in possession of a valid South African ID document -either a green barcoded ID book, a smartcard ID or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate- in order to register.

Voters must also provide details of their address to show they are resident in the voting district in which they are registering.

Proof of address is not, however, a prerequisite for registration.

While the commission reported that 95% of  its voting stations opened and were operating smoothly Saturday – there was slow start with hardly any long queues at some voting stations.

Voting stations opened on time at 8am but a few delays were reported at some stations.

Among the reasons for delayed opening of stations were double bookings of community venues, the late arrival of landlords with keys to unlocked premises, protests and the late arrival of staff.

The electoral body said there was initial reports of a steady stream of voters visiting voting stations to register for the first time and by already registered voters to re-register in new or changed voting districts.

There has also been a positive response by previously registered voters to use the weekend as an opportunity to update the voters’ roll with their address details.

Among those who went out to visit IEC voting station was President Jacob Zuma who verified his name and details on the voters roll at a registration centre in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

Despite the general smooth operation on Saturday, the Electoral Commission said there were isolated incidents of violence which disrupted the registration process.

“Unfortunately, there remain a few areas in which registration activities have been affected by incidents of community protest relating largely to issues of service delivery and municipal demarcation concerns,” the IEC said on Saturday.

The affected areas included Denver and Ennerdale in Gauteng, Vuwani in Limpopo, Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, Marikana in the North West and KwaMaphumulo in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands, as well as some areas in the Eastern Cape like Nelson Mandela Bay, Butterworth and OR Tambo district.

In all these areas, the commission said it was confident that voter registration would be able to get underway while working closely with security forces, community leaders, political parties and other stakeholders.

“The Electoral Commission calls on all communities to allow our officials to operate unhindered and to respect the rights of all citizens to register as voters. Preventing voter registration from proceeding smoothly undermines the very fabric of our democracy.”