Provincial Electoral Officer at the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) Nkaro Mateta is urging young people who have not yet registered to vote during the 2019 elections to do so during the final registration weekend scheduled for 26 and 27 January in all IEC stations in the province.
Mateta made the call during the launch of the national and provincial elections in Polokwane last Wednesday.
She stressed that the first registration weekend held on 10 to 11 March 2018 drew a huge number of Limpopo voters but reflected an inadequate number of young people. “That weekend attracted 328 149 Limpopo voters split into 55 892 new registrations, 186 584 voters that updated their address details and 85 673 voters that moved a voting station. Our special focus on the weekend will be on the millennium class of 2000 that will be turning 18 this year. Currently we only have just over 27 000 of these young people on our voter’s roll when compared to over 200 000 young people in that age category that are expected to be registered. In other words, only 13,5% of legible youth aged 18 to 19 are registered,” Mateta said.
“We are challenging the 138, 904 Limpopo voters that still do not have an address to use this opportunity to update their address details as well as 721 881 Limpopo voters with incomplete addresses to take advantage of this last opportunity,” remarked Mateta.
She further stated that prior the final weekend of registration they will be conducting voter registration for prisoners at five Correctional Service facilities across the province on the 22 and 23 January and for South Africans living outside of the Republic at all South Africa’s 121 overseas missions between 1 and 4 February. “This is line with the Constitutional and legal provisions. For all the registration weekend we also, we have recruited and trained 10 043 registration officers, deputy registration officers and Area Managers for deployment at 3 159 voting stations over the weekend of 26 and 27 January. This group will also form the core of the team of volunteers who will run the voting stations on elections say along with a further 21 547 additional support staff who will be recruited and trained between now and the elections. We are pleased to note that our recruitment continues to favour the youth at 17%, unemployment at 57% and women 65%,” concluded Mateta.
MEC for Health, Phophi Ramathuba, who represented Premier Stan Mathabatha on the day, said the Provincial Government commits to avail whatever practical support which the IEC would require to run free, fair and credible elections. “As government we support the work that IEC is doing because such work enables us to breathe life to the promise of a better life for all. Our schools and our community halls will remain available for IEC to use for the purpose of voter registration and the actual voting,” Ramathuba said.
Story and photo: Herbert Rachuene