IEC wants to register 1.5m new voters

2011-01-12 13:40

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it wants to register 1.5 million new voters before this year’s local government elections.

The municipal elections, which still need to be finalised, are expected to take place before the end of May.

Speaking at the launch of the 2011 municipal election in Midrand, chief electoral officer Pansy Tlakula said the IEC would embark on a voter registration drive on February 5 and 6 as part of its drive to register new voters and reregister those who have moved from where they were last registered.

Currently, there are 23.1 million votes on the voters’ roll.

It is not yet clear how many of the registered 153 political parties will take part in the polls.

Tlakula urged political parties “to ensure that more women and young people are elected” as councillors as there were more women than men on the voters’ roll.

“Voter registration statistics tell us that there are always more women on the voters’ roll than men. Surely this has to count for something,” she said.

Tlakula said the IEC had recruited 60 000 officials to run the registration process, and would recruit 196 000 people to conduct the elections on the day of the vote.

The electoral body has a budget of R1 billion to do its work in the current financial year.

Brigalia Bam, chairperson of the IEC, said elections were becoming a regular in Africa, but warned that there should be a shift in emphasis from quantity to the quality of the polls.

This year alone, there will be 22 elections on the continent.

She said although elections had become increasingly expensive, this was the price citizens paid for professional work.

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