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WATCH: Youth and voting – Young South Africans encouraged to take hold of their future

Published Mar 22, 2022


Video by Kamogelo Moichela

Gauteng – The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on Tuesday launched the national voter registration campaign at tertiary institutions.

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According to the IEC, the aim of the launch, which took place at Wits University, is meant to encourage the country's youth to utilise and familiarise themselves with the online voter registration facility in a bid to make informed decisions about their future.

The IEC also said that the National Voter Registration Campaign would be rolled out at all tertiary institutions in SA.

Wits students gathered near the Solomon Mahlangu Hall to register to vote for the coming by-elections in May.

Addressing the students, former Miss SA and education activist Ntando Kunene said voting meant being responsible for her future.

"Understanding that I have basic needs means that I understand the value of my currency, my education and my health," she said.

Video: Kamogelo Moichela/ IOL Politics

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She further told the students that every election that we go into as a country is determined by the voters who show up and that "when the future generation of South Africa does not show up it's a call for concern."

"You then ask yourself, are we not the beautiful ones that are supposed to enjoy the fruits of the struggle. When the women of 1956 marched to the union buildings, they gave me the opportunity to be here and to be heard...," she said.

Students who attended the launch spoke of the importance of voting and why the youth should vote in numbers.

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Wits Bcom Accounting student Lea Ngwenya said: "Young people need to vote because the future is ours so by voting we are building the foundation we want."

Law student Nomonde Mahlasela added: "Voting is part of democracy and if you don't vote then you'll not be part of democracy then you will complain."

Video: Kamogelo Moichela/ IOL Politics

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Wits Student Representative Council deputy president Lesego Louw has encouraged students to vote as that will benefit them in the future.

Meanwhile, IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said the campaign was part of an effort to increase the registration of young people on voter rolls because their own data indicated that young voters participated in large numbers.

"For instance last year, in the local government elections those that were within ages 18 to 19, 71 percent of them participated. This is significantly higher than the 46 percent national average voter participation average that we had," he said.

Mamabolo further revealed that the youth's dismal participation in previous elections was influenced by multiplicity factors including Covid-19.

"...The central message of Covid-19 was to stay home, avoid congregating situations. So we were almost working against that central message," he said.

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Political Bureau