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IEC makes headway with young voters- 78.6% new registration under 30

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has said most of the new voter registrations during its first registration weekend were young people.

It said that of its new registrations, 78.6% were under 30.

"This means that there has been a significant response by young persons to the call to register. The commission is grateful for this response," it said.

In their report, the IEC said more than three million South African voters visited voting stations at the weekend. This number is more than double its first registration weekend for the previous local elections, it said.

"The electoral commission expresses its deep gratitude to all voters who came out in the millions to visit voting stations and believes the results show without doubt that South Africans remain highly committed to democracy and participation in elections at all levels.

"This bodes extremely well for the upcoming 2016 municipal elections and for the future."

The IEC said Kwazulu-Natal had the highest overall registration activity, with 864 295 interactions recorded, followed by Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

692 730 new registrations

Of the three million registered voters last weekend, 692 730 were new registrations, 1 086 958 were re-registrations and 1 317 506 confirmed or updated their registration district.

The commission has also boasted that almost 54% of the new registrations were women.

The commission said it was especially pleased with registered voters who updated their address details. It said that more than 1.3 million registered voters updated or confirmed their details.

The IEC has urged all eligible voters who have still not registered to ensure they do not miss the final registration weekend on April 9 and 10.

"This will be the last opportunity for voters to register and update their particulars... Registration is ongoing at the local IEC office during office hours Monday to Friday until the voters' roll for the 2016 municipal elections closes on the day the elections are proclaimed," it said.

Meanwhile, voter registration weekend turned ugly at Vuwani in Limpopo when residents threatened to shut down their village and prevent voter registration.

Eight of the 45 registration stations in the area were forced to close as a result of protest action.

Residents blockaded roads and pelted police vehicles with rocks. They were angry about the decision to create a new municipality in the area, which will include Makhado (under which Vuwani falls) and Malamulele.

Almost all the provinces were rocked by protests during registration weekend.

In Mpumalanga, two EFF party agents were hospitalised following a mob attack during voter registration.

The party's provincial command team member, Tsepo Mnisi, said the agents were travelling to a registration station in Ward 23 in the Nkomazi region when they were attacked.

In Pampierstad in the Northern Cape, three voter stations were closed on Saturday because of community protests. The protests were not related to the registration process, but had to do with demarcation issues.

Residents stormed the three tents, used as temporary registration centres, destroying them, equipment and documents, including the voters' roll.

Areas which experienced challenges included Ward 60 in Ethikwini, two voting stations in Weenen in Kwazulu-Natal, two voting stations in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, four voting stations in Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape and two in GaMothibi in the North West.

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