Registration weekend declared success by IEC

400k youngsters register as first-time voters

Isaac Mahlangu Senior reporter
The IEC has revealed that hundreds and thousands of first time voters have registered to the upcoming local government election.
The IEC has revealed that hundreds and thousands of first time voters have registered to the upcoming local government election.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

More than 400,000 young first-time voters registered during the voter registration weekend to take part in the 2021 local government elections on November 1.

This horde of youngsters were part of more than 1.7 million voters who registered over the weekend for the November polls .

This was announced by the Independent Electoral Commission on Monday, labelling the last voter registration weekend a huge success.

The commission’s chief electoral officer, Sy Mamabolo, said those aged between 16 and 29 amounted to 91% of first-time voters that registered over the weekend, with most of them using the newly introduced online platform.

“The well-entrenched pattern of there being more female participants continues, 52% of all new registrations were female voters,” Mamabolo said.

He said their online registration portal has been a big success as it has already registered almost half a million voters since July, when it was introduced.

“Yesterday, 121,000 applicants used this digital channel of registration, our expectation is that the use of the portal will remain on the top end for most of today as people use the remaining hours to register,” Mamabolo said.

He said the online portal would remain “an anchor mechanism of registration for the future”.

“A solid base has been laid for its future use.”

The registration process will officially close at 5pm on Tuesday afternoon, Mamabolo announced.

The final list of candidates will be published on September 29, with the candidates getting certificates on October 1, the commission announced.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has dismissed the DA’s case in which the party sought to have the decision of the Electoral Commission to re-open the candidate nomination process declared invalid and unconstitutional.

The judgment handed down sees the decision to re-open the candidate list stand as the DA had argued that it was done to favour the ruling ANC.

The judgment is good news to the ANC and other political parties that had not been able to submit their lists of candidates in all the wards to be contested in the local government elections.

The Electoral Commission had on September 6 decided to re-open the candidate nomination process,  prompting the DA to apply for direct access to the apex court to challenge the decision.

The DA had argued that the commission’s decision to re-open the candidate nomination process was taken in order to give the ANC a chance to sort out its failure to submit lists and candidates in certain municipalities across the country on time.

The commission successfully argued that the re-opening of the candidate nomination process was a necessary corollary to holding a voter registration weekend. It also argued that it was empowered in terms of section 11(2) of the Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000 to amend the election timetable. 

In a unanimous judgment decided without an oral hearing by the court, it stated that the proper approach to interpretation involves a unitary exercise in which a court seeks to ascertain the meaning of a provision in light of the document as a whole and in context of admissible background evidence.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said they welcome and respect the court’s decision but emphasised they would keep a close eye on the commission “like hawks” ahead of the elections.

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