The percentage voter turnout for the 2016 Municipal Elections in South Africa was 54.42%. This comes on the heels of a majority of young people interviewed, who said they either did not know who to vote for, or were not going to cast their votes at all.
In some communities, there were attempts to disrupt the votes, with three voters collapsing and dying of natural causes and a heart attack, attempts to burn voting centres, and two voters attacked while queueing to vote, one gang-related and the other for an unknown reason.
In Vuwani in the Limpopo Province, a community that in the recent past burnt all the schools in the area, there were also attempts to disrupt the elections, with ditches dug across roads, other roads blocked with rocks, and a community football match organized to eclipse voting activities.
In foresight, there was a strong Police and Army presence in Limpopo, but despite this, Policemen were attacked with rocks, and one of them had his service pistol stolen. Rubber bullets were fired in Malamulele, and also along with teargas in Cambridge – East London, where youngsters attempted to burn down a community hall in use as a polling station.
The recent harsh weather also played its own part to “sabotage” the elections, with a cold-front emerging the night before the elections, and strong winds blowing over about 30 tents in four out of nine provinces.
All these, along with disaffection by people who said their votes wouldn’t count, and a campaign by groups, one encouraging people to spill their blood on the ballot papers to spoil it, and another asking people to vote all the parties on the ballot, led to the interesting voter turnout of 54.4%, which was lower than the 58% of the 2011 municipal elections, yet higher than the previous 48% at both the 2000 and 2006 polls. So 3,872,251 voted out of 7,106,027 registered voters.