IEC: It's too early to say this year saw the worst voter turnout ever

There were already concerns that more than 13 million eligible voters had not even bothered to register for the local government polls.

An IEC voting station at Joubert Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Mia Lindeque/Eyewitness News

PRETORIA - With ballots still being counted on Tuesday morning, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it was still too early to say voter turnout for the local government elections had been disappointing.

Pundits said all indications were that many chose to stay away from the polls on Monday, but the IEC said it was too early to conclude that the country was likely to see its worst voter turnout yet, cautioning against apportioning blame until the final tally.

There were already concerns that more than 13 million eligible voters had not even bothered to register for the polls.

Political analyst Gogo Aubrey Matshiqi said what had happened was beyond voter apathy or even anger directed at the governing party.

“Citizens who believe there is no connection between their lived reality and voting outcomes, in other words, elections are not going to change their lives for the better, but worse. This is a vote of no confidence in the democratic project,” said Matshiqi.

The University of Johannesburg’s Mcedisi Ndlenytana said while staying away was an option, it didn’t change the fact that local governments must exist.

“If you haven’t made a good choice in terms of ditching those who performed terribly, and choosing those you think will do well, if you haven’t made that choice, it means that those who performed badly will come back and continue to perform badly,” said Ndlenytana.

The last voter turnout was at 58%.

WATCH: Are South Africans apathetic about voting?

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