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Calls made for youth to register to vote

This weekend’s local voter registration drive has kicked off with no major incidents reported.

An IEC official helps registered voters clarify their details at the Orlando West high school in Soweto during the voter registration weekend on 5 March 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Halfway through day one of this weekend's voter registration drive, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says every South African has a responsibility to exercise their democratic right and vote.

"South Africans, this is your right and you can't vote if you don't register."

#Elections2016 National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete being welcomed by ANC members here near the Cresta Mall. TK pic.twitter.com/Y37afuxs2U

South Africans still don't know when they'll go to the polls for the 2016 local government elections.

This weekend's local voter registration drive has kicked off with no major incidents reported.

Mbete is campaigning along with other ruling party officials near the Cresta Shopping Centre in Johannesburg.

#Elections2016 Sicelo Nyamana says he feels no need to vote, as he has no confidence that any party can deliver. TH pic.twitter.com/CYa0wiysh9

The speaker has called on young people especially first-time voters to go out and register.

"Young people must know that the future belongs to them. The future is their responsibility."

She adds struggle stalwarts like Nelson Mandela fought for South Africa's freedom and that it's up to all citizens to use that privilege by taking part in the polls.

#Elections2016 President Zuma's view on the importance of registering and voting pic.twitter.com/YDttITVeJX

ZUMA URGES SA TO REGISTER

President Jacob Zuma has joined party leaders across the country in urging South Africans to check if and where they are registered to vote for the upcoming elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is hoping to reach at least 1 million potential voters across the country in its weekend registration drive.

Around 9 million South Africans who are eligible to cast their ballots are not registered to do so.

Zuma arrived at the IEC station in Nkandla this morning to check his details and ensure his name was on the voters' roll.

President Jacob Zuma at a voting registration station in Nkandla. Picture by Rafiq Wagiet/EWN.

The president says it is important for all South Africans to do the same.

"So on the day when you vote, you won't get a surprise and then find difficulties. I would like to encourage everyone in the country to go and check today and tomorrow."

POLITICKING

The African National Congress (ANC) has encouraged people to vote for the ruling party in polls and claims its track record in service delivery will ensure it remains in power.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa acknowledges South Africans face daily struggles, but says the ANC is the only party that can overcome these challenges.

"Given our track record as the African National Congress, we think that we should go out in numbers and people can vote for the African National Congress again in the upcoming local government elections."

Meanwhile, the Congress of the People(Cope) has urged people not to boycott voter registration weekend and voice their dissatisfaction with government by registering to vote against the ANC.

Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem says he's aware that some people are not planning to participate.

"We are also aware of the many problems that communities are facing when it comes to weak service delivery problems in all the localities in our country."

At the same time, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says he believes the ruling ANC is falling apart and has urged South Africans to register and vote for change.

"The way they are fighting and all this fighting with Sars and the Nkandla report, let them keep doing that. Our focus really is to say to South Africans, 'Help us save South Africa.'"

The DA leader returned to his high school in Roodepoort to register earlier today.

He took a number of selfies with pupils from the high school, who assured him they'll register as soon as they are eligible to vote.

Picture by Reinart Toerien/EWN.

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