South Africa is a young country, with the age of the typical citizen being only 25. As the country goes to the polls next month, we asked political parties to tell us why young people should vote for them
Voting for the ANC is voting to move SA forward
Former President of the African National Congress Youth League
South Africa under the ANC government has made significant progress over the last 20 years. After centuries of neglect, dispossession and oppression, the people live in a stable, free and peaceful country where their rights are enshrined in the most progressive constitution in the world and protected by a state that has built strong and credible institutions tasked with safeguarding democracy.
All these freedoms however were not free. Many people paid the ultimate price for South Africans to realise a government based on the will of the people and where the people work together towards a common destiny. Voting therefore is not merely the exercise of a democratic right but a patriotic duty one owes to the past and the future. It is up to the voter to make a choice on the type of future they envision and political party that can deliver it.
The ANC is Africa's oldest liberation movement with a solid track record in delivering on the aspirations of South Africans. In the 20 years of ANC governance, we have made unparalleled strides in our quest to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. Our commitment to delivering on the demands of the Freedom Charter has never wavered and even today it remains the lodestar that guides our political programme of action. We have been trailblazers in giving practical expression to the human rights in our Constitution, including the rights that are enjoyed by minority communities, people of different sexual orientation and women; taking bold steps including legalising same sex marriages and choice of termination of pregnancy where years ago an unwanted pregnancy would have meant the end of possibilities for many young women.
The face of South Africa as we have known it has changed with over 3 million houses built, children at 80% of public schools not paying fees, more than 13.5 million people have jobs - the highest employment figure ever. Our economy was amongst the most resilient during the global economic recession and all the jobs that were lost during that period have been recovered, putting our people back into productive work. That South Africa is a better place today than it was in 1994 is undisputed. This election then should be out building a tomorrow that is even better than today and that is the commitment of the ANC.
When South Africans take to the polls on 7 May they must vote for bold and decisive steps to build on the successes of the last 20 years. Over the next 5 years the ANC has committed to implement measures to eradicate poverty, increase employment and reduce inequality. This will be done through driving the biggest infrastructure investment rollout programme, which will unlock opportunities and create jobs. As part of this programme, the state will boost local production by ensuring that at least 75% of goods are produced locally. 60% of jobs in all new infrastructure projects will be set aside for youth and our public works programme will be massively expanded to create 6 million work opportunities with 80% of those going to unemployed youth. We have already made significant progress in achieving universal access to education and in addition to building two new universities, the ANC government will ensure the progressive realisation of free education at all levels.
Do it for the Future. Vote for the EFF!
EFF Political Commissar
While representing all sections of society, the Economic Freedom Fighters is a the most suitable political formation in South Africa to speak to what are the true interests and aspirations of the youth. The central theme of EFF's Manifesto is about creating an economically developed South Africa, which will present equal opportunities to all people of South Africa. Our vision is to build a developed nation, which guarantees access to quality education and all basic social services for all, while presenting a platform for cutting edge technological innovations. The EFF's vision is to build SA to be counted amongst the most developed nations in the 21st century, with an economy which can provide jobs for all, feed the needy, clothe the poor, and celebrate excellence and educational progress.
For this to happen, the economic foundation of South Africa should be fundamentally overhauled. Currently and for the forseeable future, the biggest component of revenue base of South Africa's government is personal income taxes of those with jobs and Value Added Tax. Successive governments in South Africa have dismally failed to expand the revenue base, and private businesses contribute a meagre 20%, which is some R190 billion into the national fiscus. R190 billion is the tax received from all of South Africa's Mines, Banks, Retail Stores, and all Factories and Industries. R190 billion cannot fund the basic education system, which needs R220 billion to sustain. Mining as a whole only contributes approximately R25 billion into the national fiscus, an amount which cannot finance the education spend of KwaZulu Natal.
How on earth can a mineral and resource rich country like South Africa, the biggest producer of vital industrial and precious metals only contribute R25 billion to the resources that are supposed to improve the living conditions of the people? How on earth does South Africa have high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment which mostly affect the youth? How on earth do we still have more than 7 million people (of which 4 million are youth) looking for jobs but cannot find jobs? Why is a rich country like South Africa having so many poor youth with little hope for economic progress?
Failure of the current government to understand this is the cause of the many problems confronting South African society. Because of the neo-liberal and capitalist dogma, the current government has had an absolute belief that private corporations should be left alone to reconstruct South Africa economically and all evidence shows that such cannot be reality. Private corporations have dismally failed to build and expand the South African economy because their interests are profit maximisation. Lack of industrial expansion through, amongst other things, local beneficiation of SA's mineral resources lies at the core of why SA is a failing nation in terms of improving the lives of the youth.
Despite these realities, we have a government and opposition parties that embrace a National Development Plan which says nothing about industrial expansion and development. And without industrial expansion, any other intervention that seeks to reduce unemployment and poverty will only scratch the surface of the problem.
The EFF rejects the NDP and all political parties that support the NPD because they contain no clear vision for the youth. They are obsessed with creating conducive environment for foreign investors, failing to recognise that with proper support, education, guidance, and protection, South Africa's youth can and will change the fortunes of this country.
The EFF presents an alternate vision and programme for the youth because our vision aims to industrially expand the SA economy to create sustainable jobs. Massive industrial expansion in South Africa can only happen if the State is in control and ownership of the strategic mineral resources, which the EFF will nationalise and ensure greater worker control. Currently, it is impossible to locally beneficiate and industrialise minerals because these are owned by greedy multinational corporations with no interests in the development of SA. The State carries an obligation to lead industrial development, because all credible economic history of the now developed nations illustrates that all forms of industrial expansion happen under the strategic leadership and guidance of the State, including in the late industrial countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
For such industrial expansion, the EFF will ensure that the following happens:
1) Massive investment in post secondary education and training capacity, which should increase the number of students in this sector by 100% within 5 years.
2) Creation of a scholarship which will take a minimum of 15 000 students to the best universities across the world every year to learn new skills which will benefit South Africa.
3) Increase minimum wages for all to ensure that no worker earns less than R4500 per month, while improving salaries of Mineworkers to the required R12500.
4) Build adequate state capacity to create quality jobs and perform its own functions to abolish tenders and undue contracts which government gives to private companies.
Why the youth should vote for the DA
Chairperson of the DA youth
Jacob Zuma’s ANC has failed to use the talents of young people effectively and they have not created an environment in which young South Africans can succeed when they work hard enough. We know that the DA is the only party that will create opportunities for young people. The youth have the most at stake in this election, and have the most to gain from positive change that only the DA can bring.
Where opportunities are supposed to be created they go to people with the right connections, not those with the most talent. Jacob Zuma’s ANC also mobilises young people on the basis of race, and cannot see that we as the youth want to work together to create a better country.
The DA has a plan to change this. We can already see this change in the Western Cape. Youth unemployment in the Western Cape is the lowest in the country.
The DA Youth has a legitimate offer for young South Africans, which we are very committed to and we will do everything in our power to deliver:
• The DA will provide funding to ensure that all qualifying Grade 12 learners can further their studies. The DA will put enough money aside for NSFAS to make sure that no students is prevented from furthering their studies because they can’t afford the fees. The full cost of studies available as a loan to poor students through NSFAS will be converted into a bursary if studies are successfully completed. If you can’t afford to get a loan, a national DA government will guarantee your loan to encourage banks to invest in the future of our young people.
• The DA will create 1 million internships. The DA will work with businesses in the country to identify skills gaps, to develop training courses and to expand apprenticeship and internship programmes. The DA will use the Youth Wage Subsidy to encourage businesses to appoint workers who still need job experience. A DA government would provide government internships to at least 20 000 learners per year.
• The DA will implement initiatives to support and boost small businesses. The DA will have Opportunity Centres in all communities where you can get information and be helped to apply for the government support programmes for small businesses. The DA will give you an Opportunity Card that you can use to access free training or pay for support services for your business – like help with developing a business plan or advice on how to market your products. The DA will break up big government tenders into smaller contracts to make it possible for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs to get government contracts.
• The DA supports BEE that creates jobs, not just a few billionaires. The DA believes that BEE deals should not be struck between the same small group of connected people. Companies should be rewarded for involving ordinary South Africans, who have never owned shares before, in their empowerment transactions. The DA will give companies points on their BEE scorecards if they invest in training, create more jobs and help small businesses to grow. The DA will have a strong focus on improving education and training to ensure that all South Africans have the skills they need to succeed.
• The DA is committed to cutting corruption and creating jobs. The DA will not allow public servants, politicians and their families to get tenders from the government. The DA will stop ministers from using public money to drive expensive cars, fly first class, stay in luxurious hotels, and have extravagant parties. Government money should be used to deliver services. The DA will fire people who have been found guilty of corruption, fraud, theft or violent crime from the public service.
We are looking forward to our future under a DA government. We will bring the change to South Africa in this election. We are committed to our future and fighting for the opportunities of all young people.