Voter registration drive

By Dr Ntombifuthi Nala

Ntombifuthi NalaThe hallmark of any democracy is regular and credible elections, and in 2024, South Africa will go to the polls for the seventh democratic national and provincial elections.  Since 1994, one of the enduring symbols of our democracy has been the sight of citizens standing in line to make their mark.

For many the seminal moment in 1994 marked the first time that they had a direct say in the direction of the country. It was a watershed in our journey to freedom and democracy and regular elections since have refreshed and kept our democracy strong.

The act of voting in South Africa is made possible by registering to vote, and for the first time people can register online by visiting the Electoral Commission’s Voter Portal at The online voter registration portal will remain open until the date of proclamation of the elections, and allows people to register and to confirm their registration status.

The Electoral Commission has also announced that another Voter Registration Weekend will take place on 3 and 4 February 2024 to allow new voters to register and existing voters to inspect, and if necessary, update their registration details. On both of these days the country’s 23 296 voting stations will open from 8am to 5pm.

Registering to vote is open to all South African citizens aged 16 years and older.  All you need is a South African green barcoded identity document (ID) book, or smartcard ID, or a valid temporary ID certificate.

During the first voter registration weekend on 18 and 19 November 2023, over half a million people, 568 374 registered for the first time, and at the conclusion of the registration weekend the voters roll stood at 26.8 million voters.

These figures show that our democratic participation levels remain high and that citizens continue to play an active role in the future of our country. 

The upcoming elections in 2024 will also coincide with 30 years of freedom since the end of apartheid in 1994.  Once again, the voices of the people will reign supreme as it did so poignantly at the dawn of our democracy.

Elections are a direct way for people to make a change, and therefore every vote counts.  Your voice is your power, and by voting you ensure that your interests are represented both at national and provincial level. 

We should also never forget that we are a relatively young democracy, erasing decades of colonial and apartheid rule was always going to take time, and the scars of our ugly past continue to run deep.

Our journey since 1994 has not been easy, but what has remained constant is our commitment to democracy and the will of the people. By registering to vote, and then voting we strengthen our democracy, and keep the dream of a better tomorrow alive.

Dr Ntombifuthi Nala is GCIS Acting CD: Policy & Research