The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said despite several problems it encountered during the first day of the weekend voter registration on Saturday, it is impressed with the turnout of voters.
IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, said this during a media briefing at Election House in Centurion. The IEC has dedicated this weekend for voter registration and for voters to verify their details.
“In the first few hours of the day of the two day registration weekend, more than 104 000 South Africans visited their voting stations to register, re-register or to update their registration details, such as addresses. This is in addition to the over 230 000 who have used the online registration system since its launch in July.
"The Commission is impressed by the turnout, and we’re making a special appeal to first time voters to take this patriotic step to make their mark in history, by participating in the forthcoming elections. Over 98% of voting stations opened on time and were able to use material which was delivered on time, to start with the registration process,” said Mamabolo.
He added that a total of 53 voting stations did not open on time, mainly due to service delivery protests by communities that sought to use the registration weekend to draw attention to their grievances. This includes a voting station in Goedgevonden near Ventersdorp in the JB Marks Local Municipality in North West. Residents here are demanding title deeds for their land.
The IEC CEO said the Commission is also pleased that the new technology introduced in the registration process is working well, despite a few problems experienced in the first two hours of registration on Saturday.
“We picked up a technical problem in the voter management device, which is being used on a mass scale this weekend. The Commission took a decision consciously to bring down the online system in order to resolve a mapping functionality problem. It is important to note that the downtime did not stop the registration process, and this was by design as it has always been part of the plan that should we experience any online difficulties, then we’ll be in a position to operate offline,” explained Mamabolo.
The IEC said the online registration system will remain open until the date of the proclamation of the elections, which is on Monday. Mamabolo urged registered voters to confirm their registration online on the IEC App, or by calling the Commission's contact centre. The IEC has also welcomed the opening of Home Affairs offices this weekend to help people with obtaining identity documents