Politics editor
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IEC weekend nets over one million new voters

By Clive Ndou

The ANC, which is hoping to retain KwaZulu-Natal in the upcoming polls, deployed several of its high-profile leaders

voting iec

Parties over the weekend descended on the Mgungundlovu District for the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) campaign to get citizens registered for the national elections
next year.

The ANC, which is hoping to retain KwaZulu-Natal in the upcoming polls, deployed several of its high-profile leaders, including Transport Minister Sindi Chikunga, to the district as part of the ruling party’s efforts to have more residents in Msunduzi and surrounding areas registered to vote in next year’s polls.

“The ANC is optimistic that the rest of the youth of this province will go out in numbers today [yesterday] to get their names on their voters’ roll,” ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo said.

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The IFP, which is in talks with the DA to co-govern the province should ANC support in KZN fall below 50% in the upcoming polls, deployed its national executive committee (NEC) member, Narend Singh, to Pietermaritzburg.

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said it was important for the party’s leadership to go out and encourage citizens to register for the elections.

“This is a golden opportunity toparticipate in the democracy of our country. The indication so far is that the message was sent and well received,” he said.

DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers, who was also in Pietermaritzburg to encourage the residents to register, visited a voter registration centre in Northdale.

Unlike other political parties, Rodgers said the DA’s focus has been more on its members and supporters to ensure that they were registered.

“We have been running an intensive campaign over the last year. We have identified our DA supporters and those DA members who have not registered at the correct areas. Our
figures show that we have done extremely well in that regard,” he said.

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There were some indicators showing that more citizens across the country were likely to register compared to previous elections.

According to figures released by the IEC yesterday, over a million new voters had registered by late Saturday afternoon. The IEC’s online voter registration portal had delivered more than 100 000 registrations.

IEC deputy CEO Masego Shiburi said the electoral body was impressed with the figures

“We are on course to surpass the highest activity ever recorded on a single day,” he said.

While the IEC is expected to hold more voter registration weekends in the build up to next year’s general elections, the electoral body’s chief electoral officer, Sy Mamabolo, said the IEC will wait for President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce the date for the polls before staging another voter registration weekend.

While the law does not require Ramaphosa to announce the elections within a particular period, it does, however, provide a timeframe for the elections.

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According to the electoral law, elections should be held within 90 days following the expiry
of the five-year term of the National Assembly and the nine provincial legislatures.

As things stand, the term of the current National Assembly and the nine provincial legislatures come to an end around May. In terms of the electoral law, next year’s elections will be held no later than August