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IEC hails voter registration a success

The IEC says the voter registration weekend was a success despite sporadic disruptions.

A voting station in Cape Town. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has hailed the voter registration weekend as a success despite sporadic disruptions.

IEC officials worked through the night to try and process the registration records of all newly registered voters and those who had to reregister.

According to preliminary estimates, nearly 1.1 million people visited registration stations on Saturday.

Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape recorded the highest number of registrations on Saturday.

Seventy five percent of registrations processed so far are for people under the age of 30.

Fifty one stations were disrupted with service delivery protests and had to be temporarily closed.

These included Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, Bekkersdal in Gauteng and Malamulele in Limpopo.

In Bekkersdal, several roads were blocked with rocks and burning rubble while residents made their way to register.

Police had to fire stun grenades to control the ongoing protests by angry residents.

Residents were demanding an apology from Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane after she said the ANC didn't need their "dirty votes".

Mokonyane has since apologised, but residents will not accept her apology.

'WE'RE NOT GAINING ANYTHING BY VOTING'

A Khayelitsha resident at the weekend told Eyewitness News she would not register to vote until she was able to see real change in the country.

The 18-year-old, who preferred not to be named, was accompanying a friend who was registering to vote for the first time at the OR Tambo Community Hall.

She said she didn't see the point of voting as she believed politicians don't do anything for their community.

"They want us to vote, just to vote for them and then they don't respond to us and to making our lives change."

At the same time, some disgruntled residents in one of the Western Cape's largest informal settlements told Eyewitness News they refused to vote in the 2014 general elections.

IEC registration points in Du Noon were not as busy as ward councillors had hoped at the weekend.

One woman said she has been living in Du Noon for 22 years and after years of voting, her community remains in shambles.

"The way government is treating us is not right. We're not gaining anything by voting. They promised that they are going to build us houses but they cannot fulfil their promises."

The electoral body admitted voter apathy remains a challenge going into the 2014 polls.

According to the IEC 10 percent of 18- and 19-year olds in South Africa are currently registered as voters.

The highest percentage of 15 percent is in the Eastern Cape, while the lowest of four percent is in the Western Cape.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) leadership in the community said that on Sunday afternoon they received just over 300 new registrations.

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