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IEC aims to register more South Africans for upcoming elections

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The Electoral Commission is aiming to ensure optimum numbers of eligible South Africans register to vote on the final voter registration weekend scheduled for 3 and 4 February.

The last drive in November last year saw around a million new people register on the voters’ roll.

The voters’ roll currently stands at just over 26 million, although 42.3 million South Africans are eligible to vote.

“In terms of our preparations they are going well, we think we will be able to give the country a registration weekend that is better than the one we did in November. All we want really is for those who qualify to participate to come in their numbers, ensure that they register in the right wards and be ready then to listen to parties and make decisions about who they want to vote for when election day is announced,” says Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo.

Mamabolo says a plan is in place to overcome the challenges experienced during November’s registration weekend.

“There are those voting stations that could not open because of protests and so on, we are working with the priority committee that works within the auspices of NATJOINTS to make sure that there is no repeat. We want people to spend less time within the registration stations and we think we are geared for that.”

The Electoral Commission intends to touch every corner of South Africa, including prisons. In the week starting 31 January, it will visit the country’s over 200 prisons, working together with the Department of Correctional Services.

“The important thing is to call for the families of those within the prison system to deliver ID documents because most often we find that those who are eager to register don’t have their identity documents, those are at home and so on. So, we want to call on families to make sure that those documents are delivered to people within the prison system. We will register them against the voters’ roll where their home is situated but on the day of elections, they will be deemed to be in the voting district where the prison is located.”

Those beyond the country’s borders will also be catered for, says Mamabolo.

“South Africans who are abroad now have the opportunity to register online. Since December last year, 7 000 people have registered using our online system from across the country, but beyond that, we are giving them an additional opportunity on the weekend of the 26th, 27th, or 27th, 28th any of those days it may be different in different countries but a combination of those 2 days within the three days framework. So, embassies will open, consulates will open, High Commission will open between 8 and 5 on those two days to give South Africans living abroad a chance to get on the voters’ roll.”

The IEC will pronounce its readiness next week, on a date closer to the registration weekend.

Source: SABC News

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