LISTEN | 'The decline continues and is gaining pace' — expert on 2024 election voter turnout

04 June 2024 - 19:13
By DEMI BUZO
A long line of voters snakes around the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in Johannesburg to cast their votes on May 29 2024.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi A long line of voters snakes around the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in Johannesburg to cast their votes on May 29 2024.

While the 2024 national and provincial elections were declared free and fair by the IEC, voter turnout saw a serious decline. 

About 16.2-million citizens voted in the seventh democratic elections, out of the just more than 27-million people who registered to vote. 

The national average stood at 58.6%.

The voter turnout results were announced by the IEC during the 2024 national and provincial election results announcement at the national results operations centre on Sunday evening. 

Associate professor and voting behaviour specialist Collette Schulz-Herzenberg of the department of political science at Stellenbosch University says the decline in participation is a concern. 

“The data over time suggests that South Africans are genuinely losing interest in politics if people do not believe that their vote counts, or can influence the outcome of the political system,' she said.

Some have blamed the decreased voter turnout on the issues experienced by voters at the voting stations, which saw some voters drop out of lines. 

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About 40-million South Africans were eligible to vote. 

Speaking to TimesLIVE, some citizens who chose not to vote cited several reasons including seeing no hope in a failed government, lack of political information/education, a disinterest in politics as well as religious reasons. 

Political expert Asanda Ngoasheng also weighed in, saying another reason some citizens didn't vote is that opposition parties have not convinced them they are a good alternative. 

The hotly contested elections saw a record number of parties as well as independent candidates take part. 

Speaking to the media on Sunday morning at the national ROC, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula cited low voter turnout as a challenge for them. The ruling ANC dipped below 50% for the first time in 30 years, receiving 40% of the total national vote.