Election season on as IEC urges eligible voters to register for 2024 polls
The election season is officially in full swing, with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) declaring its readiness to hold the 2024 elections — and political parties saying they are ready for what are expected to be the fiercest elections since 1994.
“The Electoral Commission is resolute and gearing up to conduct the 2024 national and provincial elections. We urge all South Africans to use our online portal, register and update their details and participate actively in this pivotal democratic process.
“We urge citizens to visit voting stations on November 18 and 19. We call upon all stakeholders to stand united with us to deliver the 2024 general elections,” IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said on Tuesday.
Mamabolo was speaking at the launch of the national and provincial election (NPE2024) campaign in Midrand, Gauteng.
He said the sixth National Assembly and the nine provincial legislatures’ terms of office conclude in the middle of May 2024. A seventh parliament of the democratic era must be elected within 90 days from that date.
The window period for the national elections stretches from May to mid-August 2024, with the authority to set the election date resting with President Cyril Ramaphosa after consulting with the IEC, he said.
“Those consultations have commenced but are yet to be concluded. A similar framework applies in respect of provincial legislatures, wherein the provincial premiers are entrusted responsibility to call and set a date for elections after consulting with the commission.”
Plans to deliver the general elections are under way for the earliest possible date in the constitutional window period.
Next year’s elections take place as the country's democracy marks 30 years, and independent candidates will be contesting for seats in the national and provincial legislatures.
“Individuals not affiliated to political parties can stand as candidates for legislatures at both national and provincial levels.”
A total of 23,269 voting stations have been determined for the elections.
The first voter registration weekend is set to take place on November 18 and 19, with the second dates under consideration.
“Just under 68,000 staff have been recruited and are in the final stages of training ahead of the registration weekend. The number of voting staff will increase to approximately 300,000 by the time of the elections,” said Mamabolo.
To enable the registration process to proceed seamlessly, 260 tonnes worth of registration material and equipment has been delivered to the nine provincial warehouses.
“The estimate of logistical material to be handled for the election itself is approximately 610 tonnes excluding ballot papers.
“To date more than 1-million transactions have been processed on the online registration portal, of which 439,000 are new registrations. As predicted, most new registrations on the portal are young persons in the age category 20 to 25.”
Mamabolo said the commission is engaging with telecommunications companies to examine the possibility of zero-rating the online registration portal ahead of the elections.
“The voters’ roll stands at 26.2-million people. Women have a greater representation on the voters’ roll at 14.4-million against men whose representation is 11.6-million.
“The age category with the highest representation is 30 to 39 with 6.6-million voters, followed by the age category 40 to 49 at 5.8-million and the 50 to 59 category at 4.4-million.”
Young people between the ages of 20 to 29 account for 3.7-million voters on the roll.
Political parties respond
Reacting to the announcement, DA leader John Steenhuisen said victory is certain for his party.
“The multiparty charter, if one looks at the polling which came out last week, is well within shooting distance of the ANC’s majority and I think that we have united as political parties,” he said.
“It’s up to the electorate to unite behind the multiparty charter that can get over the finish line. There is a credible path to victory that can unseat the ANC and usher in a new era of government.”
The elections are coming but the IEC needs to address the critical issues that erode the credibility of the electoral processesVuyolwethu Zungula, ATM leader
Steenhuisen said South Africans expect an expansion to the group “as it is the only viable path to unseating the ANC”.
ActionSA’s Michael Beaumont said his party will contest in all nine provinces.
“Despite contesting in only six municipalities in 2021 and coming sixth in the country, we will contest in all nine provinces and on the national ballot,” he said.
ActionSA, he said, will put its energy into ensuring its president is the outright winner.
“The best thing we can do for the multiparty charter is to ensure we have the best results for ActionSA because we have a lot to contribute to the charter. We have proven we are a political party that can win support from the ruling party and that is what is going to be required to deliver change in South Africa.”
The ATM’s Vuyolwethu Zungula said the launch did not address critical issues such as lower voter turnout.
“We would have hoped the IEC would have embarked on voter education programmes to increase the knowledge of people so we increase the number of people who come out to vote,” he said.
Another problem, he said, is alleged ANC-aligned South African Democratic Teachers Union officials who are always presiding officers during elections.
“It is also the illegalities that happen in all the voting stations, so in our view the elections are coming but the IEC needs to address the critical issues that erode the credibility of the electoral processes.”