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Marishane Youth Hub hosts Voter Education with IEC South Africa

Voter education in South Africa On the 25th of April 2024, the Marishane Youth Hub powered by Activate! Change Drivers received a warm embrace from the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa to enlighten community members about the roles, functions, and significance of the IEC in electoral processes in South Africa. This, is in line with the organizational mandate of facilitating programs and projects for public benefit in the community, most specifically, at the peak of political campaigns.

“Politicians have already activated their campaigns as we’re already seeing. Our role as the IEC is to advise and encourage you, most specifically, the young people gathered in here, to exercise your democratic right by making your vote heard, said the IEC-Jane Furse Office Democracy Educational Facilitator, Ms. Phetla Topsa”

The workshop, attended by a sizeable number of community members in Ga-Marishane, allowed for intense engagement regarding electoral processes allowing participants to be immersed in the intricacies around the IEC and its mandate.

Questions such as ‘what makes the IEC credible to be entrusted with the responsibilities of such a huge task? Why should the people trust the entity? What criteria is used to appoint IEC officials and Election Observers?
How will the changes to the electoral process affect ordinary people? Who qualifies for special vote and what criteria is used to qualify people to get special votes? How will the changes to the electoral process impact voters living abroad? Why are there three ballot papers this 2024 year as opposed to previous years? Where do voters draw the line in terms of the three ballots? How will the ballots look in 2024? What kind of relationship is expected to exist amongst IEC officials, Election Observers, and Party Agents and numerous other questions were posed?

Voter education in South Africa In response to these questions, this is what the IEC-Jane Furse Office Municipal Outreach Coordinator Ms. Lerato Mampa had to say.

1. In the past, any adult citizen hoping to get elected to Parliament needed to belong to a political party, no independents were allowed. This has been deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

2. To fix the situation of enabling independent candidates to contest locally, provincially, and nationally, Section 24(A) needed to be amended.

3. Your choice of leaders has increased. Candidates are no longer bound by party requirements and can run independently.

4. South Africans living abroad no longer need to give pre-notification if voting at the foreign mission where they are registered.

5. Can Anyone Get a Special Vote?

By law, if you are a registered voter, you can apply for a special vote if you: Can’t travel to your voting station because you are physically infirm or disabled. In this case, you can apply to vote at your home. Can’t vote at your voting station on election day. In this case, you will only be able to cast a special vote on specific days before general voting at the voting station where you are registered.

Voter education in South Africa 6. What will Voting Look Like in 2024?

You'll have THREE ballots to make your mark on, instead of two. Casting the Ballot:

CASTING OF THE BALLOT The X mark must be made in the box or space provided next to the party of choice. The voter must ensure that the mark does not touch any of the four walls of the box or space provided. The voter must ensure that they mark each ballot paper once. If a mistake is made, they must request the PO to provide a new ballot paper. The ballot paper must be folded once and inserted or deposited into the ballot box:

6.1. One for National Assembly
6.2. One for Regional to National Assembly
6.3. One for Provincial Legislature

7. Voting Outside Where Registered:

Section 24A of the Electoral Act of 1998 (Act 73 of 1998) provides for a voter who is unable, on voting day, to cast his or her vote at a voting in the voting district where or she is registered, to apply to vote at another voting station. The voter must provide the specific voting district where they wish to cast their vote. If outside their province.

8. When voting in another province where the voter is not registered: One Ballot Paper – only the National Assembly ballot paper will be issued to the voter.

Voter education in South Africa 9. Rights of Voters:

9.1. The Do’s

9.1.1. Vote in a Voting District where registered.

9.1.2. You should be registered in a Voting District where you live.

9.1.3. Be 18 years or older, registered to vote, or have proof of registration, a South African citizen in possession of a green barcoded ID or valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC)or smart ID card.

9.1.4. May wear party apparel of their respective parties when voting.

9.2. The Don’ts

9.2.1. Do not interrupt the work of voting station staff;

9.2.2. Do not bring any weapons to the voting station;

9.2.3. Do not campaign for your political party or candidates within the boundaries of the voting station;

9.2.4. Do not take a photographic image marked ballot papers.
Voter education in South Africa The workshop happened at the Moroangoato Tribal Office-Marishane Community Office which is a voting district, and was officially blessed by the presence of Mr. Masenye Masemola from the Marishane Royal Kraal. Marishane Ward Councillor Mr. MP Lethuba and his team from the Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality acknowledged the importance of the event and sent their apology. and IEC Official Ms. Lerato Mampa emphasized on the need for young people as the majority citizens in the country to come out in numbers on the 29th May 2024 to vote.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 13th May 2024.

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