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Patricia de Lille: Politicians to blame for low voter turnout

While it was too early in the counting process for official voter turnout figures, indications were that they would be much lower than the 2014 elections.

Good party leader Patricia de Lille places her ballot paper in the box at a voting station in Pinelands on 8 May 2019. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Good party leader Patricia de Lille said on Thursday South African leaders and politicians were to blame for low voter turnout.

While it was too early in the counting process for official voter turnout figures, indications were that they would be much lower than the 2014 elections.

Speaking to Eyewitness News’ Politics Sphithiphithi at the national results centre in Pretoria, De Lille blamed a lack of deep voter education for the sense of apathy.

“We need to go out and teach people why it’s important to vote, which we have not done over the past 25 years and that’s why you see people getting disinterested in voting,” said De Lille.

According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, South Africa’s 2014 voter turnout data was way higher than turnout during the 2016 US elections, when just over 65% of the electorate went to the polls.

In the United Kingdom, less than 69% of registered voters cast ballots.

In France, 42.6% of eligible voters participated in the second round of voting in the last national election.

On the other end of the scale, the Institute reports Zimbabwe's last election turnout topped 83%.

Australia managed a 91% voter turnout, that's particularly notable, because it's a crime not to vote there.

WATCH: Aunty Pat says she's just fine after the DA

BALLOT PAPER SHORTAGE

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in the Western Cape is dealing with an avalanche of complaints, lodged mainly by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the African National Congress (ANC), over the unavailability of ballot papers at several polling stations, with both parties claiming this has cost them votes.

The DA’s campaign manager in the province has gone so far as to call for the resignation of provincial electoral officer Courtney Sampson after polling day saw several voting stations run out of ballot papers, sometimes repeatedly.

ANC provincial leaders have also fingered poor planning and training of elections official.

The DA has fingered the IEC as the biggest obstacle to voter turnout in a province, where cold and rainy weather may also have dampened turnout.

Additional reporting by Wesley Petersen and Gaye Davis.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)