Friday, 17 September 2021
Pretoria: The Electoral Commission’s Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo says the Commission is ready to receive potential voters at registration stations across the country this weekend.
According to Mamabolo, a total of 23 151 voter registration stations will be in operation from 08h00 until 17h00 on both Saturday and Sunday.
Addressing the media in Pretoria on Thursday, Mamabolo said the registration weekend takes the voter registration service to communities where eligible citizens reside.
“Therefore, the essence of the exercise is to create a platform for citizens to exercise their right to vote. Without enlisting on the voters’ roll, taking part in the forthcoming elections is impossible,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo said a total of 48 899 registration officials have been trained to undertake the registration procedures at the voting stations.
“For the first time, registration staff had to complete online training modules as well as a module on the practicalities of the registration process.
“The online modules related to theoretical concepts associated with the constitutional role of the Electoral Commission as well as the voter registration processes. Staff had to attain 80% competency level in order to proceed to the practical module,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo said the Commission had acquired 40 000 new Voter Management Devices (VMDs) to be used at voter registration stations and that they will be used for the first time on a mass scale during this registration weekend.
“The VMDs represent a departure from the erstwhile ‘Zip-Zip’ machines which have been in use in the registration process since 1998. The VMDs will essentially operate in online mode in most parts of the country. In parts of the country where internet connection is not strong or reliable, the VMDs have been provisioned to operate in offline mode,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo explained that in offline mode, the devices will be able to record transactions and perform verification based on data stored locally on each device.
“The VMD’s will enable an almost instantaneous citizenship verification as well as the correct capturing of a residential address assisted by a mapping functionality.
“Registration applications have been loaded and at least one VMD has been allocated to each voting station on the Logistics Information System. The VMD’s will consolidate and integrate business processes which were hitherto separated and thus inefficient,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo said the Electoral Commission has noted with gratitude, the decision of the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to adjust the National Senior Certificate examination timetable in order to accommodate the elections on 1 November 2021.
“This gesture from the Minister will enable young voters who are writing these examinations to participate in the elections,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo said the Commission has also written to the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, requesting that he facilitates a request to the President asking for election day to be declared a public holiday.
“This intervention is aimed at affording all voters an equal footing to participate in the elections without being encumbered by business and employment considerations on the day of voting.
“Participation in the local government elections is important as municipal councils play a crucial role in providing services that directly affect people on a daily basis. We therefore call on every eligible voter to register over the weekend and for those who have moved or changed address to use this unique opportunity to amend their registration details,” Mamabolo said.
In order to register, voters need to bring an Identity Document which may be a Smart Card, green barcoded ID book or a Temporary Identification Certificate.
Voters who are registered can confirm their registration online on the website, on the IEC APP and by calling the contact centre at 0800 11 8000 (calls are free of charge from a landline and standard mobile network rates apply).
Furthermore, an identity number can be sent to 32810 via the Short Message System (SMS).
The following registration protocols will apply at all registration stations during the voter registration weekend:
• Face mask or cloth covering of the nose and mouth;
• Social distance with a minimum of 1.5 meters; and
• Sanitizing upon entry into the registration station.
All registration staff and stations have been provided the following items for use as precautionary measures to obviate possible COVD-19 transmissions:
• Disposable Face Mask;
• Disposable Cardboard Bins;
• Sanitizer Wipes;
• Hand Sanitizer;
• Disinfectant Fogger sprays; and
• Social Distance markers.