Jacob Zuma and 101-year-old gogo Sizeni Mbambo queue outside the Ntolwane Primary School voting station in Nkandla. (Amanda Khoza/News24)
Johannesburg – Over a million and a half more voters went to the polls this week for the local elections when compared to the previous turnout in 2011.
A total of 15 296 746 South Africans put their crosses next to their party of choice, an increase of 1 631 832 compared to 2011, according to statistics issued by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on its website.
The voter’s roll has also increased to over 26 million South Africans this year compared to over 23 million in 2011.
The final turnout of how many of these registered voters actually turned up ready to queue for their democratic duty on Wednesday was 57.97% – a slight increase from 2011’s proportion of 57.64%.
Gauteng – which has the biggest pool of voters – saw the largest increase in voter turnout with 58% of registered voters making their mark compared to 55.77% in 2011.
Declines in Northern Cape
Voter turnout declined most significantly in the Northern Cape where there was a drop from 63.36% in 2011 to 61.18%, as well as in the Eastern Cape, which recorded a more than 2% drop in registered voters – from 58.16% in 2011 to 56.43% this year.
A comparison between this week’s poll statistics and those of the local government elections held in 2000, show the tremendous strides made in our democracy – when voter turnout was a mere 48.07%, indicating that it was less than nine million South Africans who actually came out to make their mark on the political landscape.
ANC NEC member, Fikile Mbalula, tweeted on Sunday that the ANC had suffered due to its supporters not turning up at the polls: "The white racist political party DA must not claim easy victory the majority of our pple did not turn up. Simple check the stats you will see" (sic).
However, News24 political analyst Dawie Scholtz previously suggested that a key trend which shifted voting patterns this year was a "massive turnout differential between suburbs and townships" whereby there was a high turnout in the former, and a lower attendance in the latter.
- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.