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Cablegate: Huge Turnout in Sa Voter Registration-Obama's Victory A

VZCZCXRO8830
PP RUEHDU RUEHJO
DE RUEHTN #0234 3300727
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250727Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2885
INFO RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 6242
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 2058
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 3195

UNCLAS CAPE TOWN 000234

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM SF
SUBJECT: HUGE TURNOUT IN SA VOTER REGISTRATION-OBAMA'S VICTORY A
FACTOR?

1. (U) The South Africa Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
organized a voters registration drive during the weekend of November
8 and 9, 2008, in an effort to energize the younger citizens to
participate in the 2009 election. From all accounts the campaign
was a success. According to the IEC 3.6 millions people visited the
19,000 stations set up across the country. Of these 1.6 million
became newly registered citizens to vote in the 2009 election. The
IEC finally announced that 21.6 million voters are now registered to
vote.

2. (U) In a statement the chairperson of the IEC, Ms Brigalia Bam,
said "The IEC is delighted to see the success of the drive to
register voters, especially the youth, who represent a majority of
the weekend registration activity at 77.9%." The IEC set up a
mechanism on their website which allowed citizens to check their
status as voters. According to the CEO of the IEC, South Africans
visited the website in huge numbers. "The IEC is probably the most
visited website at the moment," said Ms Pansy Tlakula. She added
that they also received thousands of text messages checking the
registration details.

3. (U) In the weeks preceding November 8-9, a concerted media
campaign involving print, radio and television drew the attention of
young South Africans to the results of the U.S. elections with the
message that "if change can be made in the most powerful nation on
earth" citizens of this country can also motivate change by
exercising their right to vote. Political analysts have suggested
that the success of the voters' registration campaign could be
attributed to the youth being inspired by the results of the U.S.
elections. For example, the provincial paper, The Witness, said
"U.S. election inspires young people to register on SA's voters
roll." Additionally, the morning tabloid, The Times ran an article
that said, "scratch beneath the surface of the IEC's numbers and it
is clear that the young are more fired up than ever before about
voting. Far more women than men registered to vote, a statistic
that goes against the grain of all previous registration drives.
Election 2009 promises to re-invigorate South African politics just
as the incredible campaign of Barack Obama brought new life to U.S.
politics."

4. (SBU) On November 19, Cape Town Poloff met with ANC MP Francois
Beukman who told Poloff that he believes that the recent U.S.
presidential election has inspired South Africans to register to
vote in greater numbers than seen in the past, especially among the
youth. He also said that the ANC had largely increased its voter
registration numbers over the past weekend's voter registration
drive in numbers that exceeded the ANC's expectations.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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