Pretoria - Julius Malema is the most iconic young political leader in South Africa who the youth of Pretoria look up to.
This emerged from a survey on youth in governance conducted across the capital city by Lefa Moagi, a lecturer in the department of political sciences at Unisa.
About 4.68 million of voters in the May 7 elections were under the age of 30, and the ideal projection of the study was to indicate which aspect of development the youth would like the new government to initiate.
Asked which young leader they looked up to, they chose the fiery Economic Freedom Fighters commander-in-chief. At least 55 percent of respondents declared they had faith in the former ANC Youth League front man.
Malema was followed by former DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula with 25 percent.
According to the respondents, Mazibuko “stands up for us”, while Mbalula was described as being respectful towards other people.
The respondents, aged between 19 and 25, said they chose Malema because he wanted all people to share the wealth of the country equally and was fighting for economic equality, something the government was struggling to achieve.
They also described Malema as straightforward and not corrupt like other leaders.
Malema was determined to change the country and determined to improve the lives of South Africans.
“The analysis indicates that Malema has a major impact on the lives of young people.
“Although the respondents did not clearly express their support for him, there was a feeling that he represented their needs,” said Moagi.
About 10 percent were uncertain which young politician they looked up to, while the remainder mentioned names such as ANC senior official Pule Mabe, new DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, DA leader Helen Zille and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Many young people were unable to articulate clearly their understanding of democracy and governance. However, most showed a remarkable link of salient issues with historical political moments. This indicated that political memories were being carried over from generation to generation.
Young people wanted the government to offer more education instead of jobs and to create more schools and youth development initiatives that would improve their lives.
None of them had heard of the National Youth Policy 2009-2014, the government’s essential planning tool guiding its approach to youth development.
“Let’s be honest, the social and political climate in South Africa is not youth friendly,” said Moagi.