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Former DA leader Mbali Ntuli aims to help IEC register half a million new voters for 2024 elections

Mbali Ntuli wants half a million first time voters for next year. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Mbali Ntuli wants half a million first time voters for next year. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jun 8, 2023


Durban - Former MP-turned-activist Mbali Ntuli is on a campaign to help the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to register half a million first-time voters for the 2024 elections.

Through her non-profit organisation Ground Work Collective (GWC), which she formed after leaving the DA and her KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature seat, Ntuli has started a campaign called #X_Change, a new and dynamic voter registration and civic education drive.

The campaign was launched in Durban on Thursday and it will culminate in a star-studded concert on July 22 in the same city.

It will take Ntuli to 21 activation sites in and around the eThekwini, Msunduzi and KwaDukuza municipalities to engage communities, with the hope of expanding across South Africa soon after that.

The campaign is designed to engage young people directly through a series of in-person and digital activations rooted in an incentive and education-based programme of action.

“Young people will be encouraged to be a part of a new generation of socially conscious, civically engaged and empowered South Africans who are not afraid to take the necessary action required to safeguard our hard-earned democracy, and to improve their lives, and the lives of their fellow South Africans," Ntuli said.

Ntuli added that it is known that South Africa has a low voter turn-out that is having negative outcomes on electoral results.

“We know that South Africa has low levels of civic education and participation, which manifests in the low number of voters registered on the voter’s roll, particularly amongst the key voter demographic – young people.

“A lot of data has already been captured highlighting the problem South Africa currently faces of low voter registration and turn-out during elections, particularly amongst the youth age group of 18-35.

“The data shows a continued declining trend and that is a cause for concern, with serious consequences for a maturing democracy like ours where young people are continually disassociated from democratic processes, making the system less robust and more resistant to change.

“Stats on voting show that less than 50% of voters voted in the last election. This means that more than 13 million eligible South Africans had not registered to vote, accounting for around a third of the eligible voter population.· According to the IEC, of the 40 million eligible voters in South Africa, a total of 26.2 million South Africans had registered ahead of last year’s Local Government Elections (LGEs).· Youth make up 70% of our population but are the least registered demographic.

“Studies have found that being registered is 85% likely to result in persons voting when given the opportunity,” Ntuli said.

#X_Change is a partnership between Ground Work Collective and CitizensZA, Sibanye Stillwater, Impala Platinum, writer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Rebecca Oppenheimer, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), and Futurelect.

[email protected]

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