Will the Youth cast their votes in these coming Elections?

The voters roll for the 2019 National Elections closed more than a month ago, and party campaigns are in full swing. The smiling faces of presidential candidates can be seen on posters along South African roads. However, is everyone enthusiastic about continuing to this promising but winding journey?

At the end of January, the Electoral Commission raised concerns that about 9 million eligible voters were not registered, of which almost 6 million were under age 30. I cannot say this is surprising seeing that in the election history of democratic South Africa it has shown that youth votes to always by far lower than that of older voters. This time around though, there is evident cynicism from the youth towards voting and politics altogether.

Although, the ruling party has been responsible for many of the pitfalls the country now finds itself in; opposition parties have also lost out on potential votes. In an internal survey, the results showed that most of the youth shares sentiments, demands and predictions. One such sentiment is abstaining from casting the ballot, saying it would be a futile exercise.  Considering the State of National Affairs (SONA): ongoing inquiries into government corruption; bailouts and rampant unemployment – all hope can be lost. Despite the ruling party-the ANC, being held responsible for all the aforementioned; many predict that it will remain at the helm of the republic- which is likely to happen. President Ramaphosa seems worthy enough to lead South Africa out of turmoil.

Common among demands made in the survey is, more employment. Fortunately, the latest data from Statistics SA shows that employment in the formal sector is up by 87 000. At least something is certain: the youth are gradually abandoning entitlement provided for by any government; and want to work for themselves.

 

Tshepiso Kgotle

 

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