News / South Africa / Elections / Local Elections 2021

Citizen Reporter
4 minute read
17 Sep 2021
12:23 pm

Elections 2021: Everything you need to know about voter registration weekend

Citizen Reporter

Taking the admin headache out of registering to vote this coming weekend.

Picture for illustration: Neil McCartney

Anyone over the age of 18 in possession of a valid South African ID document can register on Saturday and Sunday to vote in the upcoming local government elections. 

An exciting time for first-time and seasoned voters, registering to vote can be an admin headache for some. 

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has, however, made it easier than ever before to register, and to check your voter registration status. 

It is important to note that you do not have to be vaccinated to vote, although every voter should take the responsibility of adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols at all times. This means wearing a mask, keeping your distance and regularly sanitising your hands.

It may be a good idea to bring along your own black pen this year, too. 

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about registering to vote, and how to go about making this process as painless as possible. 

Who needs to register from scratch? 

Anyone who has not voted before, or anyone who has moved from one ward, municipality or province to another, will have to register to vote this upcoming weekend. 

How do I register to vote? 

If you are not sure about your registration status, you can click here to check.

You can also SMS your 13-digit ID number to 32810, at a cost of R1 per SMS. 

For more information, WhatsApp “Hi” to 060-088-0000. 

You can also call the IEC’s contact centre on 0800-11-8000. 

Where do I register? 

Your nearest voting station will be where you register to vote this weekend. 

Voting stations will be open on Saturday and Sunday, from 8am to 5pm.

For those able to access the IEC’s services online, click here to locate your nearest voting station. 

Click here to find out who your ward councillor is.

What do I need to take to the voting station to register?

You will need to take your green bar-coded South African ID book, or a smartcard ID, or a temporary identification certificate.

This will be requested by the voting officer. The voting officer will confirm whether your name appears on the voters’ roll.

If it doesn’t, the officer will request proof of your registration, which the presiding officer will validate and provide you with a MEC7 form.

And take a pen along for the journey, just in case. Black ink, not red or blue.

For a detailed list of voting stations in each province, have a look at the PDF below.

Special vote: What you need to know

The special vote allows voters who are unable to report to a voting station on election day to apply to vote on a predetermined day before election day.

You will be eligible if you are a registered voter – and in possession of a valid SA identity document – but can’t travel to a voting station due to being physically infirm, disabled or pregnant.

Applications for special votes will open on 20 September 2021 and close on 4 October 2021.

You can apply by using the IEC’s secure online application form. The VEC1 form will also be made available at local IEC offices.

In addition, you can apply by sending a text message with your ID number to 32249.

You will receive an SMS notifying you of the outcome once your application has been processed, but you can also check the status of your special vote application online.

What happens when I cast a special vote?

If your application for a special vote is successful, you will vote as follows:

  • Your thumbnail is marked with indelible ink.
  • You receive the relevant ballot paper(s).
  • You mark the ballot(s) in secret, place and seal the ballot(s) in an unmarked envelope.
  • The unmarked envelope is placed in another envelope that is marked with your name, ID number and voting district (VD) number. The use of two envelopes is to ensure the secrecy of your ballot (the outer envelope is discarded before counting).
  • IEC officials take the envelope and place it in a secure ballot box for special votes.
  • Your name is marked off the voters’ roll with “SV” to indicate that you have cast a special vote.

Compiled by Nica Richards and Cheryl Kahla