Political parties have urged South Africans, young and old, to register to vote this weekend. Voter registration starts on Saturday March 5 and ends on Sunday March 6.
Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme called on young South Africans to check their status.”We encourage the youth not to lose hope and to register to vote for a better tomorrow [so] that they can take their future into their hands and change things for the better with a DA government,” she said.
The Economic Freedom Fighters called for supporters to register to vote in celebration of leader Julius Malema’s birthday.
“We call on them to intensify the struggle you represent by taking on the political freedom to vote and correct the course of the liberation struggle that you have given all your life thus far to,” spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said, referring to the party’s leader.
“There can be no [more] fulfilling birthday gift than a fundamental affirmation of your mission through a vote towards the attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime.”
The Congress of the People’s Dennis Bloem said voting was a singular and priceless right.”Voters have enormous power to change their lives and the environment in which they find themselves. As registered voters, they can strategise how best to give themselves real clout and thereby improve their situation,” he said.
Cabinet ministers also reminded South Africans, especially the first time voters, to register.
“Cabinet calls on all young and first-time voters to register to vote. By casting your vote you have taken a step towards making your voice heard in the decisions that affect you and your community.
Local government is in your hands,” Cabinet said in a statement on Thursday. The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said on Thursday that at least nine million South Africans who are eligible to vote are not registered.
The IEC hoped that at least a million of them would register over the weekend, CEO Mosotho Moepya told reporters.Almost one in three unregistered voters lived in Gauteng.
“Based on the latest voting age population estimates provided by Statistics South Africa, there are currently approximately 34 million South African citizens of voting age, placing the current registration level at 73% of all eligible voters.”
Of the nine million eligible voters not currently registered, about 1.5 million (16%) were aged 18-19, 4.3 million (46%) were aged 20-29, 1.6 million (18%) were aged 30-39, 0.8 million (9%) were aged 40-49, and one million (11%) were over 50.
Gauteng had the highest number of registered voters with nearly six million, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with just over five million.
The Eastern Cape had 3.1 million, the Western Cape 2.9 million, Limpopo 2.4 million, Mpumalanga 1.8 million, North West 1.6 million, Free State 1.4 million, and Northern Cape 584 830.
Home Affairs offices will be open on Saturday and Sunday to ensure voters have access to their IDs.