Over one million first-time voters registered during the voter registration weekend, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, said on Tuesday 12 November.
Tlakula said the voter registration process was smooth and efficient, with 2 512 219 people being assisted at the country’s 22 263 registration stations.“Of these, 1 088 015 (43%) were new voters registering for the first time. Their commitment to democracy has helped boost the overall registration levels to almost 77% of eligible voters, up from 73.6% before the weekend,” she said.
The IEC had set aside 9 and 10 November as voter registration days ahead of next year’s General Elections.
The IEC chairperson said a further 1.7 million people (46.6%) used the opportunity to change their existing registration to a different voting station and about 10.1% (253 098) re-registered at their existing voting station.
Tlakula said the number of registered voters aged 18 to 19 tripled from 167 535 prior to the weekend, to 434 370. The registration percentage of 22.6% remains the lowest for all age groups and presents an on-going challenge for all South Africans to encourage a new generation of voters to participate.
In terms of gender, the new registrations were largely in line with the general population trend in South Africa, with 53% women and 47% men.
According to Tlakula, KwaZulu-Natal had the highest voter registration turnout with 620 864, followed by Gauteng with 572 395, Eastern Cape 339 614, Western Cape 295 497, Mpumalanga 197 551, Limpopo 178 800, Free State 140 304, North West 116 438 and the Northern Cape 50 756.
“We would like to encourage all those who have still not taken the opportunity to register at our offices that are mainly situated at municipal buildings before next year’s general elections. We are still going to decide as the Commission on whether we will give South Africans another voter registration weekend or not,” she said.