Party agents in Grahamstown reported slow attendance at local voting stations over the weekend, which were opened for those eligible to register as voters or check their recorded addresses and other details were correct.
Voting stations that Grocott’s Mail visited were quiet, with party agents at two reporting fewer than 100 people trickling in on each day.
Although in the lead-up to the weekend, Friday saw Fingo Village residents block roads with faeces and burning tyres in protests against the bucket system, no incidents such as the service delivery protests that disrupted registration at other centres around the country were reported in Grahamstown,
The Electoral Commission of South Africa said this registration weekend was evidence of its early start to its preparations for the 2019 elections, expected to take place between May and August 2019.
“Critically, this registration weekend is a milestone towards the culmination of a two-year project to obtain addresses for all registered voters by June 2018. It is also an opportunity to ensure that voters are registered in the correct voting district segments.”
Despite isolated disruptions in certain areas, the IEC said it was pleased that most incidents, which had affected registration operations on Saturday had been resolved, and almost all voting stations had been operational on Sunday.
Service delivery protests disrupted stations in the Western Cape according to a report in IOL and IEC spokesperson Kate Baphela said in a statement that seven voting stations in Gauteng were disrupted, as well as in Nthabankulu in the Eastern Cape.
In QwaQwa and Harrismith in the Free State, residents had destroyed tents erected as temporary voting stations, and another had been stolen.
“The Electoral Commission would like to express its appreciation to community leaders, political leaders and traditional leaders, as well as the community members themselves for their assistance and support in ensuring voter registration activities could continue in almost all areas today,” the IEC said yesterday.
“The Electoral Commission would also like to express its thanks to the security agencies, including the South African Police Service and various municipal police departments for their assistance in ensuring the safety and security of voters and our staff over the weekend.”
The IEC said they would hold a media conference tomorrow to give a full report on the voter registration weekend across the country.
More than 22 600 voting stations were open 8am to 5pm both Saturday and Sunday for residents to update their details on the voters’ roll. Voting stations were staffed by over 73 000 election officials
Registered voters wishing to check or revise their address can also do so online on www.elections.org.za
For more information, voters can call the IEC Contact Centre 0800 11 8000.
WHAT THE IEC HAS TO DO
In 2016 the Constitutional Court ruled that the Electoral Commission had until June 2018 to update the voters’ roll with all available addresses. The IEC said over the past two years the Electoral Commission had made significant progress in updating addresses on the voters’ roll including:
• Increasing the proportion of complete addresses from 34% of registered voters in March 2016 to 75% of registered voters currently;
• Reducing the proportion of incomplete or generic addresses from 34% in March 2016 to 14%; and
• Reducing the percentage of registered voters without any recorded address from 32% to approximately 11%.