Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
1 Nov 2021
4:34 pm

Disturbingly low voter turnout recorded across all nine provinces thus far

Narissa Subramoney

Just over three and a half million people had voted by lunch time, which amounts to only a 14% turnout if special votes are added.

A voter casting her vote at the Philip Nel Fire station voting station on 1 November 2021, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The next few hours are crucial in getting as many voters as possible to the polls, with preliminary data showing a concerningly low voter turnout across all nine provinces.

Only 3.5 million South African’s made their mark as of noon on voting day. Voters have until 9 pm tonight to cast their ballots.

According to elections analyst Dawie Scholtz, The numbers by 13:30 on Monday were at:

  • Northern Cape: 16.3%
  • Limpopo: 15%
  • Free State: 14.8%
  • Gauteng: 14.3%
  • Western Cape: 13.7%
  • Eastern Cape: 13.5%
  • KZN: 13.3%
  • North West: 13%
  • Mpumalanga 12.8%

These figures excluded the special votes which took place at the weekend.

“The IEC just announced 3.5 million people had voted by noon. If you add the special votes, it implies a total national turnout of 14%. That’s very, very low,” said Scholtz in a tweet.

According to Scholtz, there is a higher turnout of voters in the rural areas of the Western Cape.

“They’re currently turning out higher rates than Gauteng, despite the weather. Turnout at noon: DA-leaning areas in the (small) sample: 44% ANC-leaning areas in the (small) sample: 28%,” said Sholtz.

The Joburg Noon Turnout Report showed higher voter turnout in the suburbs (24%), while Soweto stood at 14%.

“Low, but the 10% gap is holding at this point. The next few hours are crucial,” said Sholtz.

Market research company Ipsos predicted that only a third of the population (14.6 million people) will make their mark in today’s election.

Also Read: Voter turnout will be dominated by elders, Ipsos

“This figure represents only 34.3% of the total population eligible to vote,” said the company. Voter apathy was evident in the last few elections, with lower turnouts than expected.

At least 42.6 million South Africans are eligible to vote, but of these, only 26.2 million (61,6%) are registered to cast their ballots.

Ipsos also predicted that voter apathy was highest among younger voters, and the country’s elderly population would turn out in their numbers.

Registered voters in the country’s most populous province Gauteng, appear to be the most reluctant to vote, and only 51% of them fall into the medium voter turnout category.

Some people who had been queuing for an average of three hours complained of “archaic” voting mechanisms and called for electronic voting systems.