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By staff reporter
The Electoral Amendment Act’s passage in April of this year will allow independent candidates to run for seats in both the national and provincial legislatures for the first time, making next year’s elections historic.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) formally unveiled its plans and provided an update on its readiness for the widely anticipated 2024 national and provincial elections.
“Our supporting Information and Communication Technology applications have been or are being re-written anew. These include the Candidate Nomination System and the Results System.
“The portal for the capturing of supporting signatures for unrepresented parties and independent candidates is ready for deployment. We are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Constitutional Court’s application relating to the quantum of signatures before public release,” said IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo at the launch event in Midrand on Tuesday.
The terms of office of the Sixth National Assembly and the nine provincial legislatures expire in the middle of May 2024.
From that date, the seventh Parliament must be elected within 90 days.
After consulting with the commission, the president and premiers are tasked with announcing the election dates.
There are presently 26.2 million people on the voter roll, with 95% of them having a complete address.
According to the IEC, women outnumber males on the voter rolls by 14.4 million, there are 11.6 million men. With 6.6 million voters, the 30-39 age group had the biggest representation, followed by the 40-49 age group at 5.8 million and the 50-59 age group at 4.4 million.
Young persons in the age category 20-29 account for 3.7 million voters.
When unveiling the 2024 NPE theme and logo, Mamobolo said young people’s penchant to challenge the status quo and take on politicians over matters affecting the citizenry on social media and other platforms presents an opportunity for the IEC to clarify its mandate to deliver next year’s elections.
“To convince citizens, especially young ones, we intend to remind them that this democracy belongs to them and inviting them to take ownership of it as responsible citizens.
“We, therefore, say: ‘It’s your democracy – own it’.”
There are over 23,000 determined voting stations, while over 68,000 election staff are in the final stages of their training. However, the number of trained IEC staff is expected to increase to 300,000 by election time next year.
The voter management device system that was launched for the 2021 local government elections has been improved and will be used in next year’s polls. Just under 40,000 VMDs have been lined up and will be taken through a dry run this Saturday.
Mamobolo also announced the date for the first of two rounds of the voter registration weekend- drive, which takes place on 18-19 November.
The date for the second round is yet to be determined.