The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says its officials and those wanting to register for next years’ poll this weekend cannot be threatened to stay away. Some communities have warned IEC officials to stay out of their areas because service delivery issues that have not been addressed. Residents of Leratong Park, outside Kimberley, say they have been fighting for decent houses for more than 15 years, and are threatening to abstain from voting next year. Some say the IEC must stay away from their area this weekend. One of the residents who refused to be mentioned says: “We are not going to vote. Nothing changes and all stays the same.” Residents in Noupoort and some villages in Kuruman have also threatened to stop IEC officials from doing their jobs this weekend. IEC Deputy Chairperson, Terry Tselane says: “We expect a smooth weekend. People can’t hold democracy at ransom.” In Malamulele, residents have mixed views on the registration process. The area has been engulfed in violent protests in recent weeks. Officials are concerned.
Provincial Electoral Officer, Mateta Nkaro says: “We are receiving conflicting reports from the very same committee that are giving the challenges at Malamulele. Some people are saying they will allow voters to visit the voting stations. Some members of this forum are saying they will not allow people to visit our voting stations. So really we are working with the security forces to ensure that there is stability and the condition has to be conducive to run successful registrations.”
The IEC in the Free State says it wants over 90 000 people between the ages of 18 and 19 to register. Voter registration here is at 80%, the highest in the country.
In the informal settlement of Caleb Motshabi, basic services are lacking. Residents believe change will come with their votes.
The IEC in the Western Cape says it’s all systems go for voter registration this weekend. It hopes to increase the number of registered voters from the current 70%. The province currently has over 2,6 million registered voters.