Register to vote and exercise your basic human right to choose

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The pursuit of equality and a dream of uniting a divided country saw the dawn of the New South Africa.

Through the determination and sacrifice of activists, South African history changed forever with the first Democratic Elections in 1994. Through these elections, we are now able to celebrate Human Rights Day. A day dedicated to paying tribute to those who fought for a free South Africa.

As we enjoy the benefits of our individual human rights, how often do we remember the role voting had in our society? Over the past weekend, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) held a registration initiative for residents.

However, it seems that not many Newcastillians registered to ensure their information was correctly recorded for the upcoming elections in 2019.

But why are the impending elections so important?

Come 2019, the time will come to elect a new National Assembly and new provincial legislatures in each province. This election will result in the selection of the next South African President. This will mark the sixth election since the end of the apartheid system in 1995, and the second election since the death of former South African President, Nelson Mandela.

For those who were unable to register or ensure their information is captured correctly, there is a glimmer of hope.

“People can still register with the IEC,” confirmed Regional Manager of IEC, Nonhlanhla Mbonane.

Through registering and ensuring your information is correct, you can assist the IEC in ensuring the voters roll is clean. This in turn ensures the elections are fair and without any form of discrepancy.

How can you register for the upcoming elections?

“People can come to our offices in Sutherland Street, between 8am and 5pm from Monday to Friday. To register, change any details or to confirm your details, you need to bring your ID book, smart card or temporary identity certificate,” Mbonane explains.

However, if an individual is unable to visit the IEC offices, Mbonane says that residents can visit the IEC website, www.myiec.org.za

Through the website, voters can register and follow the instructions on how to change any necessary information. “Residents can also download the IEC cellphone app or contact us on our Toll-Free number, 0800 118 000 for further assistance,” Mbonane explained.

With registrations and confirmation of details coming to an end on June 30, Newcastillians are urged to ensure they appear on the voter’s roll.

“We will have another registration initiative before then. The date is still to be confirmed, so it is not all doom and gloom. If you were unable to register the past weekend, you still have until June.”

What makes voting so important?

“Voting is not necessarily about ticking the box of your favoured politician and political party. It is about giving someone the mandate to make decisions for you. Not everyone can sit in parliament and government. Also, by voting for someone, we can hold them responsible. It is also important to interact with parties prior to elections to determine who is able to meet your needs, interrogate them and determine their plans,” Mbonane emphasises.

Through registering for the elections, interacting with various political parties and voting, you can play an active role in the running of the country.

Your vote can help shape the country in a way that you feel will be beneficial for generations to come. Be sure to exercise your basic human right to vote and register today.

From all of us at the Newcastillian, have a phenomenal Human Rights Day and remember to register to vote!

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