Young people voted for change amid unemployment, poor service delivery and poor governance

Young people voted for change amid problems facing the country. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Young people voted for change amid problems facing the country. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 2, 2024


IT was sunny on Wednesday morning as Karabelo Motsatse waited patiently in a long queue at the Itshokolele Pre-School in Sebokeng to cast her vote.

The 20-year-old was a first-time voter and looking forward to participating in this year’s general elections, like other voters across the country.

Motsatse said she was excited to be among those taking part in shaping the future of the country.

She said it was a moment she will always cherish.

“The feeling from this moment is special. It is a good thing to help other community members to decide on the future of this country,” she said.

Motsatse said one of the reasons behind her decision was change.

“We want changes in this country. We need to give other political parties a chance to govern and see what they can do for us.”

While encouraging other young people to participate in the elections, she said it was also important for young people to shape the future of South Africa.

Young people made up 42% of the voters’ roll in this election and could decide the future of the country. The problems facing them include unemployment and poor service delivery.

Reginah Sehloho, like Motsatse, also wanted to see change and a new political party, one that would prioritise people more than anything else.

The 24-year-old said that although the ANC was likely to win, she would like to see people electing another political party into power.

“We know that the ANC will win, but I will vote for another party because a change is needed in this country. The ANC has been in power for a while and did nothing to better our lives. All they did was to look after themselves and their families,” she said.

Even though he was wearing ANC regalia, Thato Tsipane said the ruling party should be removed from power. He said it did nothing for black people.

“To be honest, nothing has changed under the ANC and we need a fresh political party with fresh ideas to replace them. We need another to be given a chance and maybe things will change for the better,” said the 23-year-old.

Asked why he was wearing ANC regalia when he not an ANC voter, Tsipane said this was because his parents were staunch ANC supporters who always encouraged the family to vote for the governing party, adding that the country should not be given to the oppressors again.

He said although the ruling party did its part in fighting against apartheid, another political party was needed to take the country forward.

“We need a new political party to change our lives, especially in the townships. We need fresh ideas to grow the economy and create jobs for youth. It cannot be that we will be stuck with the ANC [when] it does not take us anywhere,” Tsipane said.

Matsietsi Lekekela said she had previously been voting for the ANC, but this time she voted for a change, adding that young people were no longer inspired by history but “committed to better lives”.

“The last time the ANC was committed to serving people was in the early 2000s. The party has forgotten about the people who elected [them] and they deserve a harsh punishment, to elect another party in power,” she said.

By Friday afternoon, the ANC was leading the national vote tally, but with just under 60% of ballots counted the party was falling far short of a majority. The DA sat in second position, while former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe Party was in third.

If the ANC fails to receive more than 50% of the national vote, the party may need to consider making a deal with other political parties to form a coalition government.

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