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Ramaphosa urges youth to vote amid rising apathy

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African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged young people to be the authors of their destiny by participating in the elections. This follows reports of prevalent voter apathy, especially among the youth.

Ramaphosa was speaking after visiting several voting stations in Mamelodi outside Pretoria on the final day of the voter registration weekend. He interacted with mainly the youth and encouraged them to register to vote.

South Africa boasts over 40 million people of voting age. But, so far the IEC has just over 27 million registered voters on its records. Politicians used the last voter registration weekend to woo the over 13 million unaccounted voters.

With almost 35% of the voting population comprising young people, the ANC believes increasing their civic involvement is crucial to building their future.

“It’s important that more and more people register because the worth of our democracy is about the participation of everyone and we have a very good democratic dispensation that needs to be supported by all South Africans young and old and especially young people must take it upon themselves to register because it’s about their future. These coming elections are about the future of the country and the future lives of the young as they go forward.”

Continued concern over voter education and youth turnout decline: Siphesihle Dube

With elections just months away, Gauteng is seemingly becoming the new battleground for the 2024 elections. And the governing party has its sights on the country’s economic hub.

“The ANC is going to get more than 50%. This province is the home of the ANC as I was going around the people are saying we belong to the ANC and we support the ANC so I am confident. I can feel the pulse of our people and I can smell the victory. So it is going to happen whether people like it or not the ANC is going to come back with a bang.”

The ANC Progressive Youth Alliance also gave some advice to the disgruntled youth.

“They must acknowledge that the ANC has done a lot for them, before 1994, you would not just move from Venda to university but under the ANC you can move from primary to university without paying a cent no matter from what background. But we say more needs to be done, look, unemployment is on the top of the agenda and the youth is unemployed in SA and that’s why they are disgruntled and we have raised that with the ANC and we’re saying the league is back, we are the voice of the voiceless they must revive their confidence and they must come and vote for the ANC so that we continue to influence policies that resolve their socio-economic conditions.”

And the youth are also reminded that their vote can influence the direction the country should take.

COSAS’ National Convener, Unesongo Matikina explains, “The first thing that they should acknowledge is that voting is their right. Voting is the best way in which any average South African citizen could raise their voice could actually have a view on what’s in the future of South Africa.”

South Africa has witnessed a decline in voter turnout across all age groups in every poll since the landmark 1994 elections, but more so among young people. In 1994, the voter turnout stood at over 86% with the 2019 elections dropping to just over 66%, and just over 45% turned out during the 2021 local government election.

 

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