Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

Elections 2019: Prisoners exercise their right to vote

elections 2019 prisonersEven the South Africa’s forgotten segment of society has a say in these elections.

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The country’s correctional facilities are ready to allow inmates to participate in the National and Provincial Elections 2019 today.

Note: Follow our live coverage of the 2019 general elections here.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha visited two of South Africa’s biggest correctional facilities – the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria and the Johannesburg Correctional Centre – to assess their state of readiness on Tuesday.

“We are satisfied that the IEC, working closely with our DCS officials, have put in place arrangements to ensure that all inmates at our correctional facilities who have registered to vote will have the opportunity to vote…” said the Minister.

Elections 2019: How many prisoners are registered to vote?

At the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre he met with senior officials from the department who appraised him on preparations that have been made to enable offenders to vote at various correctional centres around the country.  

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Out of the country’s 164 000 inmate population, just over 11 000 have registered to vote in the 2019 elections.  

A number of inmates indicated that the main reason they would not be able to participate in the elections was that they had struggled to raise the R140 fee needed to apply for an ID document.  

At the Johannesburg Correctional Centre Minister Masutha went on a walkabout to assess the infrastructure that has been set up by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to facilitate voting. 

Majority prisoners are afraid to register

He also engaged with inmates to address any obstacles that may prevent those who are registered from participating in the elections. 

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“While I am happy with the arrangements, I am a bit disappointed with the numbers of registered offenders. The challenge is that offenders tend to mislead each other with stories of how other yet to be detected offences will be discovered if they register to vote,” said  Masutha.

Voting stations at the various designated correctional centres across South Africa will open at 7am and run for the same hours as those voting stations outside of the facilities.

Masutha will himself vote at Orchards Primary School in Norwood on Wednesday.

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