Home South African Elections 2021: Low turnout worries analysts

Elections 2021: Low turnout worries analysts


The IEC, at media briefing on Monday night, remained tight-lipped on the low voter turnout in this year’s 6th local government elections.

:Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

WHILE political parties expressed their confidence about winning the elections, analysts were concerned with the low voter turnout at Monday’s local government elections.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), at media briefing on Monday night, remained tight-lipped on the low voter turnout in this year’s 6th local government elections.

Out of the 26.2 million voters registered for the municipal polls, only 8 million people had cast their votes by 5pm at all 23,148 voting stations, according to IEC commissioner Nomsa Masuku.

Figures released by the IEC by 1pm on Monday indicated that Limpopo had a slightly bigger voter turnout with 15% of people coming out to vote followed by the Free State at 14%.

Gauteng was at 14.3%, while the Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape and KZN saw roughly 13 percent of voters at the voting stations.

Results in the meantime started trickling through at midnight and are expected to gain momentum throughout Tuesday.

South Africans are expected to get a clear picture of which political parties have made major inroads in this year’s elections as parties fight for the heart and soul of all major metros.

Political parties will then have 48 hours until Wednesday to lodge any objections or complaints. Serious complaints such as incidents where voters were intimidated and were unable to vote, major anomalies that are detected between ballot papers and actual votes will be investigated by the IEC.

Political analysts weighed in on the low voter turnout. Professor Sipho Seepe said the downside was that many people felt let down, that 27 years down the line the apartheid architecture remained intact.

“The black condition is still marked by poverty, unemployment, landlessness and hopelessness. Their vote has not translated to better things for all. The lesson to be derived from this is that the elections will not deliver any liberation from poverty. The conditions of inequality and poverty are being entrenched,” said Seepe.

Professor Dirk Kotze said the voter turnout looked very concerning and stressed that anything less than 45% would be very problematic.

Professor Tumi Senokoane said: “My observation is that many people are not registered. However, there is a high turnout of the white population. Young people are also out to vote. The citizens have mixed feelings of both disappointment and hope.”

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