Picture: Kevin Sutherland/EPA

JOHANNESBURG - The KwaDukuza Municipality (KDM) in partnership with National Youth Service (NYS) and National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) held a successful voter education workshop at the town hall, the municipality said on Friday.

The municipality said the workshop was held on Thursday, and attracted more 1,000 youth from all 29 wards that were in and out of school. 

"It also provided a platform for these youth to engage directly with the [Electoral Commission of South Africa] IEC, NYS, NYDA and KDM on development initiatives and/or opportunities these entities have for the youth as well as learned of the importance of voting as it relates to budgets allocation and delivery of services," the municipality said.

The municipality said the occasion was presided over by the Mayor of KwaDukuza Ricardo Mthembu; deputy Mayor Dolly Govender; Chief Whip Dumisani Ndimande; and newly appointed executive director for youth development Sabelo Nyuswa.

Delivering the keynote at the occasion, Mthembu expressed sincerity at the commitment shown by the youth to attend the workshop and also the interest shown in the discussions held when engaging with the various entities.

“I know what I am about to say will make me sound like a broken record however it is a history we are expected to reflect on so that the youth and future generations are not mislead to believing that our country was always like this – a democratic and free country," Mthembu said.

“When South Africa transitioned into democracy in 1994 – the first time we were able to vote, socio-economic conditions were disheartening amongst black people in particular and non whites in general. Our first democratically elected government faced an enormous challenge in eradicating the legacy of apartheid and improving the lives of millions of South Africans. Hence today, many people still feel not much if not anything has been done for them.” 

He said that being able to vote, enabled over 17 million South Africans to receive social grants. 

"The biggest challenge we faced with now is how to get grant recipients out of welfare and into jobs, because job creation is the only sustainable way to improve the lives of the millions of South Africans struggling to make ends meet," he said.

“I think we all agree that progress has been made. The only outstanding is the land. We cannot be unmindful to the reality that nearly 80 percent of the country’s land is privately owned whilst our people suffer and must always be evicted in spaces where they have illegally occupied this private land."

Mthembu urged the youth to take the opportunity to register to voter in this coming weekend.

All voting stations will be open from 8am to 5pm.

African News Agency (ANA)