First-time young voters excited about elections

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Published May 20, 2024


Durban — About 550 000 voters aged 18 and 19 years, and more than 4 million voters aged 20 to 29 years, have registered to vote for the upcoming election. For them, it will be the first time they make their mark, in the hopes of a better government. We spoke to some.

Tevin Muthusamy, 26, is a web designer from Reservoir Hills.

“I’m quite excited as this year is my first time voting. I always had the mindset that my vote wouldn’t make a difference, and I then realised if everyone thought like me, nothing would change. I’m concerned about voting for the right party. It’s easy to offer promises, but hard to deliver them.

“My vote is based on what I've seen can be done in other provinces with a specific party in charge. I hope Durban/South Africa changes for the better. Service delivery will be the deciding factor.”

Esese Kunene, 23, is from uMlazi and a Masters student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

“As a first-time voter I feel very happy to be finally making my voice heard and taking part in changing South Africa. By voting I believe I am leading this country as I have a say in who rules us and how they rule us by voting for the right party. I didn’t vote previously because I was in a rural area and we had no transport to take us and people around my community, which led to most people not voting.

“I actually do not have any fears about voting, because I believe people would vote for the right party and our country would be in the right hands.

“I have read and listened to manifestos from the political parties and I know which party to vote for and why,” said Kunene.

Samara Moodley, 20, a university student from Chatsworth, said as a first-time voter, it felt quite exciting and empowering.

“I am eager to make my voice heard and contribute to the process. My main concerns are whether my vote will truly make a difference. Another concern is the integrity of the election process. I worry about potential corruption and whether the elected officials will genuinely work towards improving the lives of South African citizens. To prepare myself for voting, I’ve been researching the policies and track records of the parties.

“I’m particularly interested in the DA because I believe they have a strong focus on economic growth, job creation, and good governance. I’m also considering how each party plans to address issues like education, health care, and corruption,” said Moodley.

Siphesihle Thabethe, 18, a firstyear student rom Marikana, Rustenburg, said she was happy she was now qualified to vote.

“As a first time voter I feel ecstatic since my vote is not only politically motivated but I am self-driven for better opportunities in life, especially in the near future.

“My concern is corruption that might occur during these elections, especially since it is obscured of who can or cannot win these elections.

“The fear is that the party I vote for does not win. I have already made a decision on who to vote for and I came to the decision after reading and comparing manifestos.

“The elections must benefit the majority of people in this country and not only me, so I was able to convince myself after thoroughly reading and understanding each manifesto and the party I will be voting for makes sense in that it benefits many lives in this beloved country,” Thabethe said.

Lorelle Sharp, 23, a university student from Phoenix, said it felt good knowing she could have an effect or say in who runs our country.

“I didn’t feel mature enough to vote in the last elections. I feared that my vote wouldn’t even count as there is so much corruption, and what if I make the wrong decision with my vote? But this time I’ve been doing a lot of background research and checks of actual acts performed by parties in the election, and seeing how their vocalised values correlate to the actual actions performed.

“Taking in all different elements such as cultural beliefs, plans for the future, ethics and changes and benefits they are promising, I’ve come to a decision of who I will vote for,” said Sharp.

Sunday Tribune