KZN Community safety MEC Peggy Nkonyeni on Thursday issued a stern warning to those planning to disrupt voter registration process, which opens on Saturday.
The voter registration process, which closes on Sunday, will see citizens across KZN flocking to the province’s close to 5 000 voter registration centres.
Nkonyeni said law enforcement officers would be out in full force to defend the citizens’ “right” to vote.
“Law enforcement agencies in the province have developed a clear security plan to secure the voter registration weekend.
“We can assure all citizens of their safety and that their constitutional right is guaranteed and protected ...” she said.
The voter registration process opens against the backdrop of killings and other violent incidents during the ANC’s councillor candidate nomination meetings in the province. “Our province has made progress in addressing political violence, therefore, any attempts to reverse these gains will not be tolerated.”
Briefing the media in Durban on Thursday, KZN acting provincial electoral officer Ntombifuthi Masinga said the number of wards in the province have increased to 901, from 870 in the 2016 municipal elections.
“The increase in the number of people registered to vote across the province necessitated an increase in the number of wards, and subsequently the number of councillors.
“Voting stations have increased from 4 885 during the 2019 national and provincial election, to 4 940 for the 2021 elections,” she said.
While the IEC was impressed with the increase in the number of registered voters in the province, Masinga said the electoral body was concerned about the low number of young people registering to vote.
“One of our main concerns as the commission is the fact that only 49 323 of registered young people is made up of first-time voters. The commission is working with various stakeholders to mobilise this category of young people to register for the coming elections,” she said.
About 11 000 people, Masinga said, have been recruited to work at the province’s voting stations.
“The officials have been vetted for criminal records, and those found with compromised criminal records have since been replaced,” she said.
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The November 1 municipal elections day has already been declared a public holiday, with schools and most of the country’s universities closed on that day.
The University of South Africa, whose students were due to sit for examinations on November 1, said it was in the process of revising its calendar to accommodate the polls.
Citizens who opt to register at their nearest IEC stations would need to produce their ID at the station. Those registering online should log onto the IEC’s website.