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Voters urged to ensure that they are registered ahead of elections

FEBRUARY 25, 2016
Voters urged to ensure that they are registered ahead of elections

South Africans must use the voter registration weekend of 5 – 6 March to confirm that they are still registered in the wards that they live in for the 2016 local government elections.

On Thursday, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba urged all eligible South Africans to register during the dates designated by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

He said South Africans who do not have IDs must apply now at their nearest Home Affairs office and those who have already applied must fetch their documents prior to registration time.

“Unlike national elections, the local government elections require that you register in the ward in which you reside. We also urge all young and first-time voters to register to vote.

“It is by voting that citizens select the public representatives that best serve their interests,” said the Minister.

This will be South Africa’s 4th democratic local government elections in which the electorate will choose their local leaders.

“These elections are important as local government is a critical sphere of government responsible for delivering services which are basic human rights and are essential components of the right to dignity enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights,” said the Minister.

He said the Department of Home Affairs plays a fundamental role in support of the electoral process in the country, a task taken very seriously as government.

“We will be actively involved in ensuring the success of the voter registration weekend on 5 and 6 March 2016, as declared by the IEC,” he said.

Minister Gigaba said all Home Affairs offices will be open from 08:00 to 17:00 on that Saturday and Sunday to accommodate those who need IDs to register to vote.

“Our officials are ready to deliver services to those who require IDs and temporary identification certificates,” he said.

IEC’s credibility

The Minister reiterated government’s faith in the IEC, saying the commission remains a very credible body that has conducted elections very well.

He said the challenges that have emerged in the commission speak to administration processes, not to the institution itself.

“These are administrative issues that we are paying attention to. That is why the IEC took a decision, subsequent to a court decision to postpone by-elections so that they can pay attention to fulfilling the order of the electoral court, and be in a better position for both the upcoming local government elections and the postponed by-election,” said the Minister.

He said there were no partial decisions taken by the commission.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Des van Rooyen said the commission’s decision will not affect municipalities’ compliance with regards to holding elections at the time that they are supposed to be held.

However, he said this will put a bit of pressure on the department as things will have to be done in an unusual manner.

He said his department is working closely with the IEC and will make a proclamation in due course with regards to the actual elections dates.