SA youth comes out of apathy to register to vote…

There are strong signs that the youth of South Africa is emerging from its apathy to take part in next year’s general elections. This after a surge of voter registrations the past weekend by people under the age of 40. The Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) Manager in Electoral Matters, James Aphane, says there were 568,374 new registrations. Giving a breakdown by age, he says: “Under the age of 29, we have 158,000 females and 130,000 males, and the total is 288,000. But if I were to just say, all the people that registered new amongst the 568 000 under the age of 40…that is actually 90% of them that accounts for that figure. So we have a very high number of registrations that are people under the age of 40, or 40 years and younger. So we are very impressed with these figures, because it means the younger generation is actually participating in this election.” – Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:30 – How many new voters have registered?
  • 00:59 – Were the numbers expected?
  • 01:26 – Age bracket breakdown
  • 02:20 – Apathy amongst younger voters
  • 02:33 – Registration per province
  • 03:24 – Reports of intimidation or disturbances 
  • 03:46 – Can you give details on the reports?
  • 04:23 – Did the IEC experience any glitches?
  • 05:37 – Next voter registration weekend
  • 06:52 – Next years polls
  • 07:08 – Conclusion

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Highlights from the interview

There are strong signs that the youth of South Africa is emerging from its apathy to take part in next year’s general elections.

This after a surge of voter registrations the past weekend by people under the age of 40.

In this interview, the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) Manager in Electoral Matters, James Aphane, shares the latest statistics.

He speaks to BizNews after political parties were out in force the past weekend to mobilise their supporters to register to vote. 

In total there were 568,374 new registrations.

Giving a breakdown by age, he says: “Under the age of 29, we have 158,000 females and 130,000 males, and the total is 288,000. 

“But if I were to just say, all the people that registered new amongst the 568 000 under the age of 40…that is actually 90% of them that accounts for that figure. So we have a very high number of registrations that are people under the age of 40, or 40 years and younger.

“So we are very impressed with these figures, because it means the younger generation is actually participating in this election.”

Aphane describes the overall results as “a good number” and “a very good outcome”.

As for the registration activity by province, the top three are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. “…if we’re just looking at the new registrations, it (Gauteng) has 138,000 new registrations, followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 119,000, and the Eastern Cape at 82,000 new registrations.”

Read more: DA now at 32% vs ANC’s 39% makes coalition’s “path to victory in ’24” suddenly credible

Asked if the IEC had received any reports of intimidation or disturbances over the weekend, Aphane says:  “Yes, we did receive isolated incidents, but we’re not really thinking it affected a lot of our activities. So that’s why it was just isolated incidents. And there are processes to deal with those via our security clusters….And we don’t really want to focus on that. We just want to focus a lot on the good result that we received. But certainly there is a process to iron out all those issues as we move into the elections.”

On whether the IEC experienced glitches the past weekend, he says: “No, we didn’t really experience any glitches because we were prepared for anything. 

“The matter of an incident online wherein people were having delayed registrations, meaning they have made an application online but they have not yet received a confirmation, that confirmation will come through. It’s just because we have a lot of activity online. And therefore, the images that get uploaded of the ID number are not immediately read and therefore we are making follow-ups to make sure that those are cleared. 

“But in terms of the activity at the voting station we have brought in this feature called Off-line. So this is a game changer because we made sure that we operate from 8 to 5 without any hiccups…registration was able to happen whether there was load shedding or not load shedding because the VMD also has a battery that can last for the whole day. So we didn’t really have any issues.”

Aphane says the next voter registration weekend will be next year, sometime in February. “And the nation will then be able to once again go to the voting stations to go and check their details, update their details, and the new registrations or the new people that are not registered will be able to register. We also have, by the way, the online registration facility, which is open 24-7.”

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