The Electoral Commission of South Africa recently unveiled crucial information regarding the second and final voter registration weekend ahead of the much-anticipated 2024 National and Provincial Elections. This announcement comes as a pivotal moment for South Africans to engage in the democratic process, shaping the nation’s future.
Scheduled for February 3rd and 4th, 2024, the Voter Registration Weekend aims to facilitate the registration of new voters and enable existing ones to review and update their registration particulars. Across the country, the 23,296 voting stations will open their doors from 8 AM to 5 PM on both days, welcoming citizens to participate in this fundamental aspect of democracy.
After the successful turnout during the initial registration weekend held on November 18th and 19th, 2023, the voters’ roll now boasts 26.8 million voters, with 568,374 individuals registering for the first time during that period. With hopes of surpassing the previous engagement, the Electoral Commission remains optimistic about the forthcoming registration drive.
The eligibility criteria for voter registration are straightforward: South African citizens aged 16 years and above can register using a South African green barcoded identity document (ID) book, smartcard ID, or a valid temporary ID certificate. Notably, providing proof of address is not mandatory for voter registration, although voters need to furnish their address or a description of their residence to ensure accurate placement on the voters’ roll.
Moreover, South Africans living abroad will have an opportunity to register at South Africa’s 120 high commissions, embassies, and consulates from January 26th to 28th, 2024. A newly introduced online self-registration portal allows those living abroad to conveniently register as voters by visiting the specified website and submitting their details along with a scanned image of their identity document.
The upcoming general elections in 2024 will elect a new National Assembly and Provincial Legislature across the country, marking the seventh election since the inception of democracy post-apartheid in 1994. Additionally, the new National Council of Provinces will be elected at the inaugural sessions of each Provincial Legislature.
In a significant move towards inclusivity, the Electoral Commission announced that voter registration will extend to inmates in correctional centres across the country. The registration of inmates will occur between January 30th and February 1st, 2024, facilitated in collaboration with the Department of Correctional Services. Family members of incarcerated individuals have been urged to assist by delivering their identity documents ahead of the registration drive.
The Commission emphasized the importance of an extensive communication and education campaign to promote participation, particularly among young, first-time voters. The focus will remain on empowering the youth and advocating for their active involvement in the democratic process.
For inquiries and assistance related to the registration process or voting station locations, the operational Electoral Commission contact centre is accessible at 0800 11 8000 on weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM. Additionally, an online voter registration portal remains available for first-time voters to register and for already registered individuals to update their details until the election proclamation date.
Furthermore, the Electoral Commission called upon various stakeholders, including expatriate communities, political parties, independent candidates, government bodies, the media, civil society organizations, labor, business entities, NGOs, religious and traditional leaders, and community organizations, to extend support and encourage voter registration ahead of the upcoming elections.
As the nation prepares for these pivotal elections, these opportunities for voter registration underscore the significance of citizen engagement in shaping the future of South Africa’s democratic landscape. The Electoral Commission remains committed to fostering an inclusive, participatory, and vibrant democracy, urging all eligible citizens to exercise their right to vote and be active participants in the democratic process.