Picture: iSTOCK
Picture: iSTOCK

Close to 27-million people have so far registered to vote in the upcoming national elections, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said on Tuesday. 

SA is gearing up for the crucial elections, which are likely to take place in May. Based on latest voting age population estimates from Statistics SA, the current voters’ roll reflects a total registration by 74.5% of the eligible population, the IEC said.

More than 700,000 new voters registered during the final registration weekend, bringing the total number of registered voters on the roll to 26,727,921.

“Most encouragingly, of the 703,794 new registrations, more than 81% (574,899) are under 30 years old. This means that the youth have heeded the call to register,” the IEC said.

Combined with new registrations during the March 2018 registration weekend, the voters’ roll has seen about 1.2-million new voters added. Of these new voters, 52% are women. Nearly half (49.2%) are aged between 20 and 29, while 26.6% are aged 18 and 19, and 5.9% are aged 16 and 17, the IEC said.

Over the past weekend, KwaZulu-Natal registered the highest number of new registrations (246,847) followed by Gauteng (236,287), and the Eastern Cape (130,959).

In terms of the total voters’ roll, Gauteng, SA's economic hub-which will be a key battleground in the elections, has the most registered voters making up about 24% of the total voters’ roll, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 20.7%.

The Eastern Cape makes up about 13% of the voters roll, closely followed by the Western Cape with 11.7%.

“The IEC is pleased with the overall registration level, which remains high by international standards for countries with a voluntary registration system,” it said. 

However, the commission remains concerned that approximately 9-million eligible voters are still not registered, of which about 6-million are under 30 years old.

“The IEC hopes young voters will make use of the short window of opportunity ahead of the proclamation to still register at local IEC offices. Once the elections are proclaimed — expected during February — the voters’ roll will close for these elections.”

phakathib@businesslive.co.za