ELECTIONS: All systems go for voter registration as parties hit campaign trail

South Africans have been urged to register, update or verify their details ahead of the November local government elections.

FILE: Voters being assessed before they can cast their votes at Rantailane Secondary School, in Ga-Rankuwa on 19 May, 2021. Due to COVID19 regulations and the space of the voting station, only one voter is permitted at a time. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eligible voters have begun trickling in at various registration sites across the country as South Africa prepares to hold its next municipal elections in November.

ALSO READ:
- JUDITH FEBRUARY: The ANC in government is a walking contradiction
- South Africa’s ANC in dire straits ahead of local poll
- IEC hoping more young people will register to vote this weekend

More than 23,000 stations manned by thousands of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) staff opened at 8am and will close at 5pm.

Those visiting stations are required to wear their masks and keep a safe distance to manage the spread of COVID-19.

In the Western Cape, the IEC’s Michael Hendrickse said health officials would also set up vaccination sites at 17 venues.

“It is important to note that this initiative is aimed at the broader health process and the IEC stresses that a voter doesn’t need to be vaccinated in order to register or to vote.”

The IEC hopes to add at least 500,000 people to the voters roll with an eye to attracting young people.

South Africans have been urged to take advantage of this period to either register, update or verify their details through various channels, including online platforms.

PARTIES ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

This weekend will also see political heavyweights and party representatives crisscross the country.

In Gauteng, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to lead a delegation of senior party members in a door-to-door campaign in several areas in Soweto.

He's starting at the Nomzamo informal settlement in Orlando before he heads to Chiawelo where he grew up.

Ramaphosa will then head to Naledi and other areas before wrapping up with at least two community meetings.

EFF leader Julius Malema is taking his campaign to KwaZulu-Natal and his stop will include Phoenix where acts of vigilantism, fuelled by racial profiling, left 36 people dead in July.

The DA's John Steenhuisen will focus his attention on the Western Cape while his former colleague, Herman Mashaba, who has since formed Action SA - will be bring his campaign to Johannesburg.

HOPES FOR URGENT CHANGE

Some Ikwezi Park residents in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape expressed hope that the elections would usher in much-needed change in the community.

Political parties have set up stations outside the Thembani Educare Centre that doubles as a voter registration site.

Down the road, residents expressed grievances over a lack of maintenance of public infrastructure.

DELAY DENIED

Meanwhile, the IEC sought to hold the municipal elections in February next year, citing concerns over the coronavirus but the Constitutional Court dismissed its application earlier this month.

On Saturday afternoon the apex court will provide reasons for this judgment, which led to the Democratic Alliance taking legal action against the commission for reopening the candidate registration process.

The opposition party believes this was done in favour of the ANC which failed to register councillors for 93 municipalities.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.