Pietermaritzburg - Voters in 162 of the 4 747 voting districts in the province will have to re-register at new voting stations, provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery announced on Wednesday.
Mosery said changes to ward boundaries by the demarcation board meant many voters were not registered to vote in their voting districts.
Mosery was addressing the media on the Electoral Commission’s readiness for this year’s local government elections.
The commission will hold a voter registration drive on Saturday and Sunday, the first step in the countdown to this year’s local government elections.
In 2011 the province had 61 municipalities but this year that number has been reduced to 54 after the demarcation board merged municipal boundaries in 2012.
“The commission has since embarked on targeted communication and registration in these [affected voting districts] to inform residents of the changes,” said Mosery.
The province will however go to this year’s local government elections with more wards and more councillors.
The increased number of wards and councillors can be attributed to an increased number of registered voters in the province, from 4 684 733 in 2011 to 5 117 131 in 2014, Mosery said.
In 2011 there were 828 wards, and this year there are 870 wards.
The number of voting stations will also be increased from 4 747 to 4 795.
Mosery said 14 385 personnel had been recruited and trained to work at voting stations as registration officials.
About 130 of those have since been replaced after a vetting process revealed they had criminal records, said Mosery.
There is still no clarity on the date the elections will be held. Voting stations open at 8 am and close at 5 pm for voter registration this weekend.
THE IEC will have to put more emphasis on the addresses of voters, Election Monitoring Network board chairperson Nkosikhulule Nyembezi has said.
The commission’s integrity was compromised last week when the Electoral Court decision halted the by-elections in Tlokwe, owing to insufficient information on the voters’ addresses.
Nyembezi said previously there had been no emphasis put on verifying voters’ addresses.
Nyembezi it was important for the commission to make ensure voters are registered in the voting district where they ordinarily live.