SA YOUTH RESERVING THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE
By: Mbalenhle Sithebe
Eighty-four percent of people over the age of 50 are registered to vote, 93% aged 60 and above while just only 8.4% of young people between the age 18 and 19, this is according to the IEC’s current statistics.
The statistics also showed that 35% of young people prefer not to vote which means only 1 in 4 are registered to vote.
This is proof that young South Africans do not see the importance of voting.
“The reason we have 93% of people over 60 registered to vote is because they know how important the right to vote is, as they have lived without it during the apartheid era, they respect their right to vote,” said IEC Vice Chairperson Terry Tselane.
Karabo from Diepkloof said that young people do not vote because not much has been done to educate them about voting.
“Political parties talk about us, they don’t talk to us in the language we understand,” said Karabo.
“Yes we want to be part of the change but we are lost, we aren’t empowered on how to make the system work for us.”
According to a Facebook poll question, 7 in 10 young people are not bothered to participate in the country’s elections.
University student Dike Phatudi said that the IEC should educate young people about the importance of voting at a younger age, way before they are 18 “because when I’m eligible I won’t hesitate”, he said.
Phatudi also said that teaching young people the importance of voting is rushed out in the last minute. “The IEC should invest time in educating young people especially born frees,” he said.
Two young people on a TV breakfast show, Sunrise, said that they have lost faith in the government and have not seen the change they as young people want to see, because not much has been done.
An 18-year-old Zareef Minty (Wits law student) said, “If young people don’t vote they are giving the government the power to do what they want, voting gives you a voice.”
Princess Sinwamadi responded by saying, “People should not bring the past as the reason for us to vote. Yes our forefathers have struggled but that has ended, give me a reason to vote.”
DA youth leader, Mbali Ntuli said that young people may not vote because they do not want to be involved in the conflicts between political parties.
“We don’t want to be part of the scratching,” said Ntuli.
According to Wounter Wessels, South Africans have broken everything to minority because of colour.
“One advantage that has worked in other countries is collision of opposition parties as an ability to serve people not to compete just for votes.”
Terry Tselane has urged the youth all over the country to register to vote.
“Our youth should honour their past and own their future,” said Ntuli.
The IEC announced that just over 1.2 million young people have registered to vote for the first time in the upcoming elections.