290309 MXit – can you ‘bare’ it? You may have heard about tales of decadent juveniles and a little something called MXit – but is it as bad as people make out? asks Masood Boomgaard

Cape Town - The ANC has partnered with popular social network site Mxit in a bid to woo the youth before the upcoming general elections.

Facing an election with an unusually weakened ANC Youth League, and against the backdrop of a Pondering Panda Survey which revealed that a quarter of the country’s youth were prepared to vote for Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters, the ruling party has become a little more tech savvy in its campaign.

The ANC has created its own Mxit application targeting the youth, whose vote is likely to be the deciding factor in this year’s elections.

Mxit is a popular social platform among the youth and has 7.3 million active users across the African continent.

ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu said the “My ANC” app could be downloaded for free via the Mxit application store by simply searching for “ANC”.

On Monday the party announced the nationwide availability of its My ANC app across all nine provinces, following the success of its “My ANC Western Cape” Mxit application, which gained more than 400 000 subscribers.

Mthembu said most of its subscribers were aged 17 to 25.

“The app, which can be downloaded for free across more than 8 000 mobile devices, provides young South Africans with the opportunity to actively engage with the ANC; gain access to information on service delivery; learn about ANC events, voting and registering for the 2014 elections and details of their local ward councillors,” said Mthembu.

The app also dealt with topical issues such as unemployment and education.

“Subscribers can also participate in polls as well as sign up as ANC volunteers. More than 8 000 people have already registered as volunteers through the My ANC Western Cape app alone,” he added.

The ANC continued to show its commitment to connect and engage with the youth.

Mxit chief executive Francois Swart said Mxit was a “chat-focused mobile social network and it lends itself well to brands and organisations”.

“The ANC is an example of one of these brands that use Mxit very effectively.

“Politics is an important conversation in South Africa – especially when it comes to the youth, who might be less engaged in the conversations happening in newspapers and other media platforms,” said Swart.

The DA has meanwhile taken the fight for the youth vote to communities, starting with the party’s first “Speak Out Sessions” in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend.

The Speak Out Sessions are led by DA Youth leader Mbali Ntuli.

The “youth-only town halls” are expected to take place across the country for the next four weeks. - Cape Times