Elections set for May, final registration weekend in January — IEC

The 2019 elections will take place on May 8, 15, 22, or 29, while the final voter registration weekend will take place at the end of January, the IEC has announced.

Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) chairperson Glen Mashinini made the announcement at a press briefing in Centurion on Wednesday.

He said the commission had met with President Cyril Ramaphosa in August, and he had said that he wanted the elections to take place before the end of May. By law, the elections need to take place by August 2019.

Ramaphosa is expected to proclaim the election date in February, Mashinini said.

In March, the IEC will receive candidate nominations from political parties, and all the parties will sign the electoral code of conduct.

International registration

The final voter registration weekend before the elections meanwhile will be on January 26 and 27, IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said the voter registration weekend was to allow new voters to register, and for those already on the voters roll to change their details if they needed to.

Voters will have to provide their address or a description of where they live, but documented proof of address is not required, he said.

The IEC is also putting in place plans for South Africans living outside the country to register to vote at embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad.

The date for the international registration weekend will be announced soon, and is likely to take place just before or after the South African registration weekend, Mamabolo said.

Voter registration will also take place in prisons. Mamabolo said that prisoners were regarded as being registered to vote in the voting districts where they were incarcerated.

Family members of prisoners would need to give their IDs to them before the election drive.

The IEC also raised concerns about the low number of young and first time voters on the voters’ roll. Mamabolo said the IEC will launch a national communication and education campaign.

“A key thrust will be encouraging first time voters to register,” he said. Mamabolo said that just about 15.6% of the voting age population are voters aged 18 and 19.

While the majority of people who registered in the last three elections were between the age of 19 and 29, this was coming off of a low base.

“We have not been able to reverse the trend of general under representation of young people on the roll,” said Mamabolo. — News24

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Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans interned at the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley for three years before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane). She went on to work as a Mail & Guardian news reporter with areas of interest including crime, law, governance and the nexus between business and politics. 

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