Few disruptions to voter registration

2013-11-09 20:31

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Pretoria - Voter registration proceeded peacefully on Saturday at the majority of stations across South Africa, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said.

However, sporadic incidents of community protests affected the registration process in "very limited areas", chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya told reporters in Pretoria.

"The [affected] areas include Bekkersdal in Gauteng, Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, Malamulele in Limpopo, the Joe Morolong municipality in the Northern Cape and Lansdowne Road in the Western Cape," said Moepya.

"In all these areas, election officials are working closely with security forces, community leaders, political parties and other stakeholders to ensure citizens' rights to register to vote are not impacted and voting stations are operational as soon as possible."

Moepya said 99.7% of 22 263 voting stations had been operating normally across South Africa as at 15:00 on Saturday. He said all voter registration centres which had been closed would be re-opened as soon as possible.

"All of the stations that were disrupted will be functional before the end of the day, in the majority of instances. They will certainly be functional for the rest of the day [on Sunday]," he said.

"Where we had to replace staff. That replacement will be completed today and we will have [people]...working there tomorrow. Where our staff have [been] withdrawn, in some instances, it was because of the intimidation."


He said intimidated staff members who pulled out of the registration process had been community members in the respective areas.

"In Bekkersdal, for example, where stations were disrupted particularly around lunchtime, we possibly will have the stations functioning at 4pm, but they will certainly be open tomorrow [Sunday]," Moepya said.

"In Joe Morolong we had a community protest which resulted with a person coming into one of our stations and confiscating our material [and] then burning it. We will have replacement material and as the situation is normalised, registration will proceed."

Other disruptions were caused by delayed opening of stations due to double booking of the venues, late arrival of landlords with keys to premises and the late withdrawal of staff.

"Other incidents reported by election officials were disruptions to temporary infrastructure [and] two separate vehicle accidents suffered by election officials on route to voting stations," said Moepya.

In another incident, election officials arrived late at a voting station because a herd of elephants had camped on the road at Point Drift, around Mapungubwe near the border with Botswana.

Social media popular

Moepya said awareness of this weekend’s voter registration appeared to be high with the IEC receiving its highest ever volumes of visitors on its interactive and information channels.

"New channels of interaction via Facebook page IECSouthAfrica and Twitter account @IECSouthAfrica have also been highly popular. The Facebook page in particular has grown with over 56 000 people who have “liked” the page in the past week, making it the third fastest growing Facebook page in South Africa."

Deputy chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said citizens who would have missed out this weekend would have to travel and register at municipal electoral officers.

"Registration in the South African context is a continuous process. The registration weekend offers people an opportunity to register within their voting districts [and] the communities where they live," he said.

"However, those who want to register [on any other day] have an opportunity to go to the office of the municipal electoral officer and register there.

"Those who may have been affected by the disruption will have the opportunities right through to the point when the president legally proclaims election dates."

Read more on:    iec  |  elections 2014

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