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IEC sets its eyes on the youth this voter registration weekend

By Palesa Matlala

12 November 2023

Some political parties, like recent entrant Rise Mzansi, believe the 2024 general elections to be one of the most important vote day since the first democratic election in 1994. And all eyes are on young South Africans registering to vote this weekend. According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa's deputy chief electoral officer Mawethu Mosery last month, over 100,000 young people have registered to vote next year.

In the Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) efforts to encourage voters they have released a media campaign titled ’’Your Democracy, Own it’’ that is specifically targeted at the youth of South Africa. The Commission described the campaign as stories that are presented in an "epic, emotive and inspirational manner, providing a personalised context for democracy as enshrined in the country’s Constitution".

Despite the Commission's efforts, Nonjabulo Masemola, a Grade 12 pupil at Phefeni Secondary School in Orlando West said she would not be joining millions of South African’s at the polls. ‘’At the beginning of this year I was excited about voting because this will be my first time voting however, I feel like all these political parties serve their own interests rather than those of ordinary South Africans’’ said Masemola.

"Some schools in the rural areas are using pit toilets and do not have running water. We in township schools are still faced with the issue of overcrowding in our classes which leads to teaches not giving each learner adequate attention and support," added Masemola.

On the contrary, Monde Kasana, who is the Humanities Student Chapter Chairperson and a final year BA in Public Governance with Politics and Public Administration student at North West University (NWU) believes that there is no perfect state.

"In our engagements with the youth we have found that majority of them do not really know what they expect from the government, some of them would say that they want jobs but when we ask them about the YES Initiative, Nasi Ispani or the National Youth Development Agency they have no idea what you are talking about," said Kasana.

"I am worried about my future in South Africa because I am raised by a single mother and I wonder if I will be able to receive funding next year to further my education," said Masemola, adding that if she was given an opportunity to leave South Africa to better her life she would take it.

"Each and every country has its own social, political, economic and other forms of challenges. However if the youth can tap into their political consciousness maybe our democracy can be born again."

The IEC says that they are prepared to welcome millions of new voters at 23 296 voting stations country wide on 18 and 19 November 2023.


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