Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson, Glen Mashinini, says the 2019 general elections will most likely be held in May.
Mashinini said President Cyril Ramaphosa recently indicated his intention to proclaim elections before the end of May next year but is expected to announce the exact date in due course.
In terms of the Constitution, the term of the current National Assembly and provincial legislatures ends on 6 May 2019 and elections must be held within 90 days thereafter.
Addressing the media in Centurion, Mashinini said a voter registration weekend will be held on Saturday, 26 and Sunday, 27 January 2019.
The Electoral Commission will support the voter registration drive with the roll-out of a national communication and education campaign to encourage participation.
Mashinini said all the country’s 22 932 voting stations will open from 08h00 to 17h00 on the voter registration weekend.
“This is to allow new voters to register and existing voters to update and check their registration details.”
Mashinini said there are currently 26.1 million registered voters on the national common voters’ roll.
The commission chair hoped that at least one million new voters would be added to the voters’ roll ahead of the 2019 elections.
Mashinini said the voter registration will also be conducted in January in correctional centres around the country to allow prisoners to exercise their right to vote.
“For voting purposes, prisoners are regarded as being registered to vote in the voting district in which their prison is located.
“Families members of those who are incarcerated in correctional facilities are requested to deliver their identity documents to them ahead of this registration drive,” Mashinini said.
The IEC is hopeful that voters, who are already registered, will use the opportunity to visit their voting station to check their registration and specifically to confirm and update their address details.
“All South Africa citizens aged 16 and older in possession of an official ID document can register as voters (although only those who are at least 18 years old on voting day may vote).
“Voters should take a copy of their bar-coded ID book, smart card ID or temporary ID certificate when they go to register in the voting district in which they ordinarily reside.
“When registering, voters will need to provide their address or a description of where they live to allow the Electoral Commission to place them on the correct segment of the voters’ roll. Proof of address is not required,” Mashinini said.
According to Mashinini, a registration weekend is also being planned for voters living abroad at South Africa’s 120 High Commissions, embassies and consulates.
“The Electoral Commission will announce dates once final arrangements have been concluded with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation,” Mashinini said.
The Electoral Commission contact centre will also be activated ahead of the national registration weekend and will be operational until after the registration weekend to assist citizens to register and vote.
Mashinini appealed to all stakeholders, including political parties, government departments and entities, media and civil society organisations — including labour, business, NGOs, religious-based organisations, traditional leaders and all community organisations — to support the registration drive and encourage voter registration ahead of elections.
The overseas registration weekend is likely to take place just before or after the South Africa weekend.
The Electoral Commission also announced the release of the Atlas of Results for the 2016 Municipal Elections.
The Atlas is a compilation of voting data from the elections presented geographically by province, municipality, ward and voting district and can be used by political parties to analyse their and other parties’ electoral performance in the 2016 elections.
This can be a useful tool to help political parties to plan and refine their campaign strategies for the upcoming and future elections.