IEC ‘thrilled’ by youth registration, expresses concern over protests

2014-02-11 13:32

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Millions of young people have registered to vote in the upcoming general election, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has said.

“We are thrilled with the way South Africans, and young South Africans in particular, have come out in their millions to take the opportunity to register,” chairwoman Pansy Tlakula said today.

“The results show that we can lay to rest any suggestion that South Africans are apathetic or blasé about democracy.”

A total of 1 259 560 people registered for the first time over the weekend, taking the number well over 25 million voters.

Tlakula said the number was 80.5% of the eligible voting population.

A total of 1.1 million people registered for the first time during the first registration weekend in November last year. With the 1.2 million who registered this weekend, a total of 2.3 million voters would be added to the roll.

Almost three million people visited 22 263 voting stations over the weekend.

“That is 16% higher than the 2.5 million who visited voting stations in November,” said Tlakula.

Last Thursday, the commission said it hoped to improve on the figure of just more than 24.1 million South Africans who had registered to vote.

This was 76.7% of the estimated voting age population which, according to Stats SA, is 31.4 million.

Tlakula also expressed concern about violent protests countrywide.

“We are worried about protest-hit areas and the safety of our staff,” she said.

“We are hoping dialogue will take place and we will try to resolve the issues.”

The final voter registration was hampered in certain areas with some stations petrol-bombed in Bekkersdal, west of Joburg.

Tlakula said the IEC was in contact with political parties and police to prevent violence on voting day, May 7.

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