NEWS & ANALYSIS

How South Africans abroad can vote - IEC/DIRCO

Applications for registration at embassies and consulates are open with immediate effect

Electoral Commission and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation collaborate to register South Africans living abroad for the 2014 Elections

The Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Department of International Relations & Cooperation (DIRCO) hereby announce their collaboration to register South Africans living outside of the country as voters for the very first time. This follows the presidential assent to the Electoral Amendment Act No. 18 of 2013 and the publication of amendments to the Regulations on the Registration of Voters late last year.

In terms of the  amended regulations, South Africans living  outside of the country who wish to vote in next year's national election are required to register in person either in South Africa or at one of South Africa's 124 Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates-General located in 108 countries. These South Africans need to be in possession of a valid South African identity document (either a green bar-coded South African ID book, a new smart-card ID or a valid temporary identity certificate) and a valid South African passport to register. South African citizens living outside of the country and who are already registered as voters in South Africa do not need to register again.

Applications for registration are open with immediate effect and take place during normal office hours of the various missions until Friday, 7 February 2014. A list of South African missions is available here. South Africans living abroad are urged to confirm the working hours of their nearest foreign mission before attempting to apply for registration to avoid disappointment.

Provision has also been made for two special registration weekends, on 18 and 19 January and 25 and 26 January 2014, to accommodate those South Africans living abroad who are unable to register at their nearest South African foreign mission during normal working hours.

Chapter 3 of the election regulations, dealing with special votes, has also been revised to accommodate voting by South African citizens abroad. It requires registered voters who will not be in South Africa on Election Day (including those who registered outside of the country) to notify the Chief Electoral Officer of the IEC of their intention to apply to cast their ballot at a South African diplomatic mission. Notifications of intention to apply for a special vote are made online via the IEC's website (www.elections.gov.za) using a VEC10 form which will only be available once the President of the Republic has proclaimed the election date. Online applications must be made with 15 days of the proclamation.

"The 2014 general election is a watershed for South Africa, as it marks the 20th anniversary of our democracy. The IEC takes great pride in enabling all South Africans to exercise their democratic right to vote, wherever they may be and we wish to thank the Department of International Relations & Cooperation for their assistance in enabling South Africans to exercise this right," says Mosotho Moepya, Chief Electoral Officer of the IEC.

Statement issued by Kate Bapela, IEC, and Clayson Monyela, DIRCO, January 7 2013

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter