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Young people under 30 account for 78% of potential new voters, IEC data shows


The first voter registration weekend saw over 560,000 new voter registrations.

First-time voter Mbali Ngcobo registers to vote in Roodepoort. File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng, Independent Newspapers

THE FIRST voter registration weekend saw over 560,000 new voter registrations, with the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces leading.

Recently released Census 2022 data also showed that the Gauteng and KZN provinces were the most populous in the country, with 15 million and 12.4 million, respectively.

The Gauteng and KZN provinces populations account for almost 30% of South Africa’s 62 million population.

South Africa’s adult population, using Census data, is estimated at around 40 million, meaning an estimated 40 million people can decide the fate of the country if they all decide to register to vote, and cast their vote.

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said there were a total of 2.7 million people who registered to vote during the weekend of November 18-19, with 834,474 people registering online.

The data provided by the IEC also shows that young people under the age of 30 account for over 78% of the 568,374 new registrations.

A breakdown of the data shows:

– 93,546 people under the age of 18 but older than 16 registered to vote, with Gauteng: 21,657, KZN: 21,488, and the Eastern Cape: 14,772, accounting for the most new registrations.

– 62,825 people aged between 18 and 19 registered to vote, with KZN: 15,637, Gauteng: 15,102, and the Eastern Cape: 9,575, accounting for the most.

– 288,718 people aged between 20 and 29 registered to vote, with Gauteng, KZN, and the Eastern Cape accounting for the most.

– 76,490 first-time voter registrations for people aged 30 to 39 were recorded.

– 46,795 people aged 40 and older who have never voted before registered to vote for the first time.

– Unsurprisingly, the Northern Cape, with the smallest population in the country, had the lowest number of new registrations in all age categories.

A snapshot of the new voter registration data from the IEC for the first voter registration weekend

By gender, the new voter registration data showed that 52.52% of the new voter registrations were women.

Compared with previous first weekend registrations for new voter registrations, the first voter registration for the 2024 national elections was third, behind the 2014 and 2016 elections, where over 1 million and 692,000 people registered for the first time, respectively.

In terms of a combined registration activity, including re-registration for new addresses, the 2024 elections first voter registration weekend achieved 2.9 million registrations, with only the 2016 local elections’ 3.09 million registrations performing better.

A snapshot of the voter registration data from the IEC for the first voter registration weekend

The IEC said the national voters’ roll now had 26.8 million voters, with 6.2 million in Gauteng – the biggest in the country.

“Young persons in the age category 16-29 account for 445,089, or 78.31%, of the 568,374 new voters.

“Therefore, the Commission’s continued focus on young persons is producing a good yield. The Commission will persist with efforts to improve the registration levels of the youth,” said Kate Bapela, the spokesperson for the IEC.

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