Monday, 20 September 2021

Pretoria: The Electoral Commission’s Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, has announced that over 1.7 million people showed up at voter registration stations at the weekend to register to vote.

A total of 23 151 voters registration stations were in operation on Saturday and Sunday.

Addressing the media in Pretoria on Monday, Mamabolo said the number of people registering as first-time voters totalled 433 198. This accounts for 25 percent of the total registration activity.

Voters who were re-registering in same or changed voting districts accounted for 1 277 811 applications.

The province with the highest registration activity was KwaZulu-Natal with 358 384, followed by Gauteng with 315 282 and the Eastern Cape with 240 514.

Young persons in the age category 16-29 account for 402 401 of the new registrations – which is 91 percent.

Mamabolo said the registration effort had therefore elicited a good response from young persons.

He said innovations such as the voter management device increased the speed at which voter registration applications are processed.

“Previously, it would have taken weeks to capture address details of new applicants following a registration event,” he said.

Since its inception in July, the online registration portal has processed 499 488 applications.

On Sunday, 121 414 applicants used the digital channel for registration.

“This digital channel provides voters the convenience of use in terms of time of application as well as place of application. It will become an anchor mechanism of registration in the future. A solid basis was laid for its future use,” Mamabolo said.

Election Day

The Commission also welcomed the proclamation of the election date of 1 November 2021 by the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

“This legal act formally institutes the election phase in the re-constitution of municipal councils within the local sphere of government.

“The Ministerial proclamation has made it possible for the Commission to publish an amended election timetable. The amendments to the election timetable are a consequence of the re-opening of the registration process,” Mamabolo said.

The amended timetable was published in the Government Gazette on Monday. Some of the key electoral milestones are as follows:

– The candidate nomination process will close at 17h00 on 21 September 2021.

– Final lists of candidates will be published on 29 September 2021 and candidates will be issued with certificates on 1 October 2021.

– Copies of the provisionally compiled voters roll will be made available to electoral contestants between 21 and 23 September 2021.

– The Commission will make decisions in relation to objections raised on 24 September 2021.

– The voters roll will be certified on 26 September 2021.

– Applications for special votes opened on Monday and will close on 4 October 2021.

– Special votes will be cast on both the 30 and 31 October 2021.

Applicants who are unable to visit voting stations due to infirmity will be visited at their homes or places of confinement while all other successful candidates will cast special votes at the voting stations.

Touching on the Constitutional Court judgment handed down on Monday, Mamabolo the Commission had already announced measures to comply with the orders of the court.

“The handing down of this judgement has provided all roleplayers with clarity in relation to the inter-play between the regularity of elections on the one hand and the constitutional imperative for free and fair elections.

“The Commission accepts that it must strive for free and fair elections in the prevailing COVID-19 circumstances,” Mamabolo said.

He said the clarity provided by the Constitutional Court on this matter has laid a foundation for all parties to focus on preparing for the election.