The Electoral Commission today officially launched the 2021 Municipal Elections, unveiling a mobilisation campaign aimed at encouraging eligible voters to register and participate in the October elections.
The launch was held at an event at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg attended by key stakeholders including leaders of political parties, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and the media. In line with COVID-19 regulations the event was limited to under 100 attendees but was simultaneously broadcast live on various news channels and online platforms.
The mobilisation campaign will roll-out from today over two phases across television, radio, digital and outdoor channels throughout the country under the slogan “Every Voice Together”.
The first phase will focus on voter registration ahead of the voter registration weekend planned for 17 – 18 July 2021 when all registered voters are urged to check and update their registration details and new voters can register.
The second phase will roll-out ahead of Election Day on 27 October to mobilise the electorate to vote.
A major focus of the campaign will be on encouraging young and first-time voters to register and vote in a bid to boost voter registration numbers ahead of the closing of the voters’ roll on proclamation by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs expected in early August.
“Currently the voters’ roll has 25,75 million registered voters. Based on population estimates from Statistics South Africa it is estimated that some 15 million eligible voters remain unregistered. Of these, about 60 percent are under the age of 30,” said Chief Electoral Officer Mr Sy Mamabolo.
“This is not necessarily a reflection of so-called ‘apathy’ by young people. Young voters have had fewer opportunities to register than older voters – with millions only qualifying for registration over the past 24 months since the last major voter registration drive.
“Secondly, the youth of today are used to operating within a digital and online environment and frequently seek a more convenient and accessible option for registration. The Electoral Commission is currently working with political parties within the National Party Liaison Committee to finalise alternative and additional modalities for registration and we hope to make announcements in this regard soon.”
Reflecting on Youth Month, Electoral Commission Chairperson Mr Glen Mashinini said the elections were an opportunity for a new generation of South Africans to take up the mantel of supporting democracy from previous generations.
“Our appeal to the current generation of freedom-loving South Africans is to use the Municipal Elections to leave an indelible footprint for posterity: A legacy of continuing an unbroken record of adhering to the dictates of our Constitution and staying the course on our democratic journey.
“This is a journey that the youth of our country from one generation to the next sacrificed so much for. Our responsibility today is equally critical but vastly easier than their sacrifices: Firstly, we must register to vote and ensure our registration particulars are up to date. Secondly, we must participate actively in the coming elections. And thirdly we must at all times be safe and consider the safety of others.” he said.
As part of the launch of elections, the Electoral Commission Contact Centre has also been re-activated on 0800 11 8000 and is operational weekdays from 8am to 5pm. It provides assistance to callers in all official languages and is also available to respond to queries submitted on Twitter (@IECSouthAfrica), Facebook (IECSouthAfrica), email (email@example.com) and webchat at www.elections.org.za.