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Politicians go all out for voter registration

2016-04-09 22:31

Cape Town - Politicians were out in full force all over the country as the second round of voter registration for municipal and local elections got underway on Saturday with hitches in some places. 

The Electoral Commission hoped that the second round would boost the existing voters’ roll of 25.6 million and register the estimated eight million eligible voters who are not registered yet.

It especially wants young people to register because 80% percent of the eligible voters not registered yet are under the age of 30. 

The leadership of the ANC was out in their signature gold and green colours where they went on door-to-door campaigns, handing out party t-shirts to potential voters for the 13 August poll.

And while it was defending its decision that it accepted President Jacob Zuma's apology over for the confusion caused by his approached to the Nkandla controversy, it also had to put out a Twitter fire.

A message "If you don't support Cde Jacob Zuma, we do not want your votes!" on @MyANC_ was quickly attributed to a hacker.

Party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said somebody was trying to distract them from their campaigning and said it was definitely not an insider.

It has created a new account @MYANC and reported it to Twitter, said Kodwa.

Oppostion leader Mmusi Maimane took the Democratic Alliance's voter registration drive to several townships alongside its party's mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba. 

Maimane received a warm welcome, even posing for pictures with supporters from different political parties dressed in their own party regalia.

On social networks, many voters reported that registration processes had happened without any difficulties but for some an SMS from the Electoral Commission (IEC) asking them to check whether their addresses were registered, created confusion. 

"IEC confirmed via SMS I was registered to vote at Northcliff Primary. 2 days ago the IEC sent me a sms requesting to update residential address details. Checked on their webpage... registered but no address details. So off to Northcliff Primary this morning to find that I AM NOT EVEN ON THEIR LIST OF VOTERS...." Lynette Visagie wrote on a Facebook post. 

Text messages

Earlier this week, the IEC announced that it had sent text messages to approximately 5.3 million registered voters for whom no address details are currently available on the voters’ roll as part efforts to update and enhance the voters’ roll ahead of elections.

"The initiative follows the Constitutional Court ruling in November last year in the Tlokwe matter that a voter’s address or sufficient particularities of their place of residence were essential to ensure that the voter is registered in the correct voting district.

"The SMS messages inform these voters that no address is currently available for them in the Electoral Commission’s records and urges them to visit their voting station this weekend to update their address details. In line with best marketing practice, the SMS allows voters to “opt out” of receiving further SMS communications from the Electoral Commission."

But many voters said they did not understand how the IEC could not have had their addresses when they had voted at the same locations in previous elections. 

One Facebook user said after first confirming that she was registered, she was later informed to go and register in another district which is further away than her usual voting station. She questioned whether she was automatically taken off the roll at the voting station she had always used, or whether someone would be able to fraudulently cast another vote on her behalf in that area.

Late voting stations

Meanwhile the IEC had reported that the majority of voter registration stations which opened late were in Vhembe in Limpopo.

It was understood in one area, some residents were disgruntled about the name change of their municipality. 

The IEC said there was also protest action reported in Paarl in the Western Cape, Ntabankulu and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and four voting stations in Kwazulu-Natal in Ladysmith, Umfolozi and Escourt.

Meanwhile, in Kapok in the south of Johannesburg, registration got off to a shaky start when IEC officials received an unpleasant welcome as residents blockaded roads with burning tyres and rocks. 

The locals were protesting over service delivery. 

The IEC tent was eventually erected and manned under heavy police guard. 

Voters have another chance to register when stations open again on Sunday.

Read more on: cape town  |  politics  |  local elections 2016

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