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One in five South Africans not registered to vote

Published on 06/03/2014

Almost one in five South African adults are not registered to vote in the May 7 general election, higher than the previous polls, according to official figures released on Thursday.

The Independent Electoral Commission said 80.8 percent of eligible voters were on the voter roll, down from 84.1 percent in the last election in 2009 and 84.6 percent in 2004.

A total of 25.3 million were registered in the country of 53 million.

Residents aged between 30 and 39 made up the highest number of registered voters, followed by the 20-29 year-old age group.

The election is seen as the biggest test yet for the governing African National Congress, which has ruled since the end of apartheid in 1994.

President Jacob Zuma’s government has faced increasing discontent in recent years, with poor communities across the country staging often violent protests over the lack of services and glaring inequality.

Government is also battling to reduce unemployment, which officially stands at 24 percent, but is thought to be higher.

The last year also saw the formation of new political parties hoping to challenge the ANC grip on power, including ousted ANC lawmaker Julius Malema’s radical Economic Freedom Fighters movement.