Surge of youth registrations - but millions still not enrolled for poll

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) CEO Sy Mamabolo.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) CEO Sy Mamabolo.
Image: Tyrone Arthur

More than half a million people who registered to vote in this year's general elections this past weekend are young people.

This is according to the CEO of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)‚ Sy Mamabolo‚ who was briefing the media in Cape Town on the outcomes of the final voter registration drive that took place on Saturday and Sunday.

Mamabolo said there were now 26‚727‚921 names on the voters' roll‚ with 703‚794 having registered at the weekend.

"Most encouragingly‚ of the 703‚794 new registrations more than 81% (574‚899) are under 30. This means that the youth have heeded the call to register‚" said Mamabolo.

"Combined with new registrations during the March 2018 registration weekend‚ the voters’ roll has seen 1‚194‚314 new voters added ahead of the upcoming elections. Of these new voters‚ 52% are women and 48% men. Nearly half (49.2%) are aged 20–29‚ 26.6% are 18-19 and 5.9% are aged 16-17."

Mamabolo said Gauteng had the most voters (6‚366‚629)‚ followed by KwaZulu-Natal (5‚525‚222) and Eastern Cape third with 3‚365‚821 voters.

"Based on latest voting age population estimates from Statistics SA‚ the current voters’ roll reflects a total registration of 74.5% of the eligible population.

"The Electoral Commission is pleased with the overall registration level‚ which remains high by international standards for countries with a voluntary registration system. However‚ the commission remains concerned that approximately 9-million eligible voters are still not registered‚ of which approximately 6-million are under 30."

The commission said it hoped more young voters would make use of "the short window of opportunity ahead of proclamation to still register at local IEC offices".

Once the elections are proclaimed – expected during February - the voters’ roll will close for these elections.

The IEC said 285 political parties were registered but it was not guaranteed that all of them would make it to the ballot paper.

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