Vaccination is not mandatory to register to vote in November municipal elections: IEC

17 September 2021 - 11:00
By Cebelihle Bhengu
The IEC says it will use voter management devices to register voters on September 18 and 19. File image.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL The IEC says it will use voter management devices to register voters on September 18 and 19. File image.

Voters will not be required to produce proof they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 when they register to vote in the local government elections on November 1, Electoral Commission (IEC) CEO Sy Mamabolo announced on Thursday.

Mamabolo was briefing the media on the IEC’s readiness to register voters at its 23,151 registration stations across the country on September 18 and 19. 

He said citizens will not be able to cast their votes later this year if they are not registered to vote. 

Here are four important takeouts from Mamabolo’s address: 

Staff training 

IEC officials received adequate training and are prepared to register voters using the newly launched voter management devices. These will ensure a faster registration process and instant confirmation of voter’s citizenship.

“A total of 48,899 registration officials have been trained to undertake the registration procedures at the voting stations. For the first time, registration staff had to complete online training modules and modules on the practicalities of the registration process.”

Vaccination and voting 

Mamabolo said voters are not required to be vaccinated to vote.

“Vaccination is not linked to your right to vote. We are implementing non-pharmaceutical interventions at voting stations. It is not mandatory for you to be vaccinated to register to vote.”

Special voters 

Mamabolo said IEC staff who will conduct home visits will be provided with the necessary personal protective equipment for their safety and that of voters.

“It is necessary to ensure people have confidence we are not coming to leave any virus in their homes. People who are not able to leave their homes must be serviced, and we hope they will allow us to service them by entering their homes for a short period to offer them a voting opportunity,” said Mamabolo.

Security at voting stations 

Mamabolo said the commission is working with the  National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure to discuss and identify possible hotspots for demonstrations. 

“Nobody should be interrupted. If you are unhappy about any process, be it from a political party or a municipality, it does not grant you the right to disrupt the registration process,” he said.