statement by National Deputy-Secretary (19 August 1998)

Following the insistence by the ANC that only Green Bar-coded SA Identity Documents (GBSAID) be used for the purpose of the 1999 elections, the UDM wishes to make the following submission:

The IEC and the Department of Home Affairs commissioned the HSRC to conduct a study into the extent to which eligible voters are in possession of SA ID documents. From this study, it is clear that an alarming number of potential voters are not in possession of SA ID documents. This number is of such great proportion that it calls into question the participation in and the fairness of conducting fair democratic elections in 1999.

  • Between 4.7 and 5.3 million (at least 20% of the total voter population!) voters do not have the GBSAID.
  • One in ten (± 2.4 million) potential voters do not have any ID.
  • More than two thirds of those without ID documents are first time voters.
  • The greatest shortage exists in rural areas.
  • 80% of voters without GBSAID have not yet applied for new ID documents.
  • A third of the voters who have applied for ID documents have been waiting for more than 3 months while 21% have been waiting for more than 5 months.
  • 60% of the voters indicated that they were unaware of the need for GBSAID in order to vote in the 1999 elections.

From this figures it is obvious that it would be impossible to declare the 1999 General Elections free and fair if such a huge number of voters could not participate in the elections because of government’s inability to fulfill its task of issuing ID documents to the voter. It is also beyond comprehension why government would commission such a study at a huge cost for the taxpayer and then ignores the findings thereof.

While acknowledging and supporting measures to limit election fraud to an absolute minimum limiting voting to those with GBSAID documents is clearly not the route to take. The UDM strongly believes that in order to conduct a free and fair election every eligible voter must be offered an equal opportunity to participate in the elections. With the risk of 20% of voters, not being able to participate this is obviously not the case. How can the ANC blatantly disregard the democratic choice of 20% of the electorate?


  • The UDM proposes that all ID documents be used to register and to vote.
  • We further suggest that a barcode be paste in the ID document during the registration process.
  • The barcode can be part of the process of control and of starting to compile a proper voters roll for the 2004 elections.
  • The UDM further urge government and the IEC to intensify its efforts in making the voters aware of the need to acquire GBSAID documents, also for future elections. No awareness campaigns in this regard exist.
  • Every effort must be made to increase the productivity and delivery of GBSAID documents up to the elections, and in this regard, the UDM suggests the following:


  • Mobile Home Affairs offices be established and that they service specifically those areas identified in the report as crisis areas and in the rural community.
  • Home Affairs employ casual workers as to increase productivity, delivery and address the backlog and current shortfall.
  • Home Affairs open their offices outside normal business hours.

Though it is argued that specifically in the case of TBVC states voters may be in possession of more than one ID document, claims by the ANC government that they have eliminated in most of the affected provinces these “ghost identities” operating fraudulent activities, should put to rest this concern.

The major concern and driving force for the UDM remains the democratic right of every single voter to participate in the democratic processes of the country. This basic constitutional right must be respected and maintained. It can not be violated through government’s own inability. It is said that the people get the government that they deserve. It would be ironic if because of that same government’s failure people are deprived of the opportunity to remove that government. Twenty percent of the electorate can determine that swing.