ELECTIONS AND VOTING
Who can register?
To register to vote you must be a South African citizen; be at least 16 years old (you can only vote from age 18); and have a green, bar-coded ID book; smartcard ID; or valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC).
How do I register to vote?
To vote in elections, you must register as a voter. You only have to register once, unless you move (within South Africa) or your voting district boundaries change.
When and where can I register?
You can make an appointment to apply for registration during office hours at the local IEC office responsible for your voting district. Please always phone first to make an appointment.
What documents do I need to apply for registration?
By law, you must apply in person (no online or email registrations are permitted). Please bring your: Green, bar-coded ID book; smartcard ID; or valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC). No other forms of ID can be accepted. Only original documents (no copies) are accepted.
- Green, bar-coded ID book
- Smartcard ID
- Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC).
No other forms of ID can be accepted. Only original documents (no copies) are accepted.
What happens when I apply?
1. Go to your local IEC office
2. Fill in an application form
3. Your ID book is scanned
4. A bar-coded sticker is pasted in your ID book
Please note that completing the form and receiving a bar-coded sticker or receipt doesn’t mean that you’re registered, it only means that you’ve applied for registration. Your application must still be processed (may take up to 7 working days). Please see “How do I know if or where I’m registered?” below to find out how to check if your application was successful.
National & Provincial Elections
South Africa’s national and provincial elections take place every five years. Voters vote for a political party, not individuals. The political party then gets a share of seats in Parliament in direct proportion to the number of votes it got in the election. Each party then decides on members to fill the seats it has won.
This is called a proportional representation (PR) voting system. National government makes and carries out laws and policies for the whole country. It is made up of:
National Government led by the President and Ministers
Provincial government makes and carries out laws and policies that affect the province only. It is made up of:
Legislature (the laws of the country) led by the Speaker
Provincial Government led by the Premier and Members of the Executive Council (MECs)
Democratic national and provincial elections have taken place every five years starting in 1994.
By-elections take place within 90 days after a municipal ward council seat becomes vacant due to death, expulsion or resignation of a ward councillor.
Municipal elections take place every five years.
A mixed or hybrid system, making use of both the ward system and the proportional representation (PR) system, is used for municipal elections.
There are 3 types of Municipal Councils in South Africa:
Category A: Metropolitan Councils;
Category B: Local Councils (LC); and
Category C: District Councils (DC)
(have executive and legislative powers in areas that include local municipalities)
For metropolitan municipalities, there are 2 types of elections in each ward:
Metropolitan council ward, and
Metropolitan proportional representation.
Where do I vote?
Please remember that you must be a registered voter in South Africa in order to vote. To confirm that your name is on the voters’ roll, and to find out which voting station you’re registered at, please check your voter registration status online, SMS your ID number to 32810, or check on the IEC’s mobile app.
Where is my voting station?
If you are a registered voter, you can find your voting station information by checking your voter registration status.
If you are not registered, and want to register at your correct voting station during a special registration weekend (held in the months before major elections), use our Voting Station Finder to locate your station on a map. Find out how to register.
Voting in the Municipal Elections and By-Elections
You can only vote at the voting station where you are registered. Check your voter registration status to find out where your voting station is.
Voting in the National and Provincial Elections
You need to vote at the voting station where you’re registered to vote. Please check your voter registration status to find out which voting station you’re registered to vote at. However, if you’re outside your voting district on Election Day, you may vote at another voting station in South Africa (use the IEC’s Voting Station Finder to find your nearest station).If you’re outside the province where you’re registered, you’ll only be able to vote in the national election and not the provincial election. You may be required to provide proof of registration (application sticker pasted in your ID when you applied for registration) if the zip-zip scanner is unable to verify your registration. You’ll also have to complete a form (VEC 4) at the voting station.