Around eight million people were eligible to vote

In the wake of upcoming elections and amid the voter registration process, the Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Department of Correctional Services have asked the inmates' family members to provide identity documents (ID) to correctional centers.

The voter registration for inmates is scheduled from Jan. 20 to Feb. 1. The department explained that at the time of arrest, many offenders didn't have their identity documents with them. Hence, the families are requested to provide the documents including green-barcoded ID, smartcard ID or temporary identification certificate (TIC).

"The commission has been informed that due to the transfer factor for inmates, correctional centers will also be accepting IDs for inmates serving sentences in distant towns or provinces," the department said, SA News reported.

It added, "These identity documents will be transferred to the relevant facilities where inmates are incarcerated," noting that the Department of Correctional Services will do everything necessary to ensure that these documents remain safe.

"The South African Constitution states that every eligible adult citizen has the right to vote. Placement in a correctional facility does not abrogate this right exercised by inmates without exception since the general elections in 1999," the department said.

However, the department noted that it requires a green barcode ID, a smart card ID, or TIC to register any inmate as a voter.

Last month, the commission announced the dates for the second and final voter registration ahead of the 2024 national and provincial elections, noting that the Voter Registration Weekend will be held on Feb. 3 and 4 to register new voters while existing voters can verify or update their details if required.

The 23,296 voting stations across the country will remain open on the above-mentioned dates from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The general elections, which are expected to be held in the first half of 2024, will mark the seventh election in the country since the end of the apartheid era.

South Africa gained independence in 1994 after the apartheid system ended in the late 20th century, and Nelson Mandela became the first black president in the country's first democratic election held in April 1994.

Talking about the upcoming elections, the ruling African National Congress party will be locking horns with opposition parties, including the Economic Freedom Fighters party and the Democratic Alliance.