EFF, a ray of hope for majority of Gen Z voters

According to one Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) official, 4 000 people voted at the metro centre in Braamfontein. Most of the voters were young people, Gen Z in particular. Picture: Hope Mafu

According to one Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) official, 4 000 people voted at the metro centre in Braamfontein. Most of the voters were young people, Gen Z in particular. Picture: Hope Mafu

Published May 29, 2024


The stakes are high, the end is near, politicians are vying to be elected as the new government, but the people are the deciding voters. Is this the end of a 30-year reign?

On Wednesday, close to 4 000 South Africans, mostly Gen Zers, flocked to the metro centre in Braamfontein to cast their votes, highlighting that they are hoping for a new government.

Braamfontein is known as the epicentre of millennials and Gen Zers at most, due to local colleges, universities and student accommodations surrounding the metropolitan.

The metro centre observed a huge turn-out of voters, and may of them emphasised they are expecting the unemployment rate to subside, an inclusive education system and the representation of young black people in government (and the National Assembly). In particular, Gen Z voters are calling for the visibility of young black women in senior leadership positions.

Gen Z voters said they are beguiled by the EFF, as it is a party that is inclusive and understands the plight of young people regarding societal issues.

First-time voters Andiswa Zungu and Sonto Mbongwe, both 24, lamented that the current governing party has been running a failed administration for 30 years. They noted the ANC is not inclusive of young people, thus, failure to create sustainable jobs. Hence, the job market is saturated and additionally has stringent requirements to enter the workplace.

“We are voting for the EFF because the party has policies that are inclusive of young people. The EFF does not only focus on equality, but it focuses on equity, because we can't speak about equality, but there are economically marginalised people, especially us black people. In order for us to economically progress, there must be practical policies that will nudge us to reach there, and the EFF’s policies address this,” they both said.

Zukhanye Mapena, 20, explained she hopes the party she voted for will prioritise the safety of women and children against gender-based violence, noting the ANC showed dismal failure to provide sustainable solutions to end GBV.

“There are a lot of policies in place that are meant to help us to end GBV, but these policies hardly talk about implementations that will eradicate this scourge against women. As black young women, we are not represented enough in Parliament and leadership positions. We need black young women, who understand our experiences on a daily basis, thus, they will make policies that relate to us as this particular demographic,” said Mapena.

She added that she voted for the EFF as the party planned to have an inclusive education system, by providing funding for postgraduate students.

Moreover, Gen Z bemoaned senior citizens occupying leadership roles in government, saying old politicians within the ANC fail to relate with young people. That is why the country does not incentivise science and technology in the education system. Therefore, if the EFF is elected as government, young people will be represented in the political sphere.

“I want change. Change will only come when young people vote. Having old people in government means more corruption and less young people in leadership roles. I’m voting for the EFF,” said 22-year-old and first-timer voter Kholofelo Masemola.

Thobile Delwe, 22, and Les Mofokeng, 19, emphasised that they are sceptical about the jobs politicians claim they will create. However, they hope for a new government that will prioritise young people, by creating sustainable jobs and abolish the social relief of distress grant (SRD); instead, the anticipated government should inject state funds and create jobs for the unemployed.

The Star