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IEC plans to hold one voter registration weekend for municipal polls this year

The IEC told Parliament’s portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs that it took the decision due to budget constraints.

The chief electoral officer of the IEC, Sy Mamabolo. Picture: @IECSouthAfrica/Facebook.com.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said that it planned to hold only one voter registration weekend ahead of local government elections this year.

Usually, the IEC holds two registration weekends just ahead of polling day.

The IEC told Parliament’s portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs that it took the decision due to budget constraints.

The IEC’s budget was cut by R35 million and it also had to foot the bill for the personal protective equipment (PPE) its staff would need to run the elections.

IEC chief electoral officer, Sy Mamabolo, said that there would only be one voter registration weekend ahead of this year’s local government elections.

"Because of COVID-19, all departments have had to have their budgets reduced and that is the case at the IEC too. As a result, the IEC, on this occasion, will only be able to offer the country a single registration weekend instead of the normative two."

Mamabolo also said that new voter management devices would be used for the first time, replacing the old zip-zip machines. They would provide an online voters’ roll-on elections day.

Mamabolo said that the zip-zip machines served the country well.

"But the new imperatives around addresses and ensuring people are registered in the correct segments require a new tech device."

He said that there were now only about 1.2 million voters who did not have complete addresses on the voters’ roll, but he said that they would still be able to vote on polling day.

The IEC was expecting more than 70,000 candidates to stand in the elections and said that it hoped that voter turnout would top 60%.

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