The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema has sought to dispel what he has described as the perception of voter apathy among the youth. The EFF leader visited Hitekani Primary School in Soweto as part of the party’s drive to encourage eligible voters to register.
This voter registration weekend will see the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) attempting to increase registered voters.
Malema chose to invade what is traditionally known as the ANC’s stronghold, Soweto as he led party members through the township at the start of this voter registration weekend – starting at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s voting station, Hitekani Primary School in Chiawelo.
He says residents in the area ought to know that the governing party no longer shares the same ideals as it did during the liberation struggle. As the 2024 elections approach, Malema says the EFF wants to gain control of the township and the province.
“Soweto must be a contested terrain. This is the ANC base and you can’t want to remove the ANC without going to where it’s rooted. The people of Soweto need to be conscientised that this is not the ANC that they associated with during the struggle. It’s the most corrupt and an ANC that has turned against its own people. We want to take it over. We want 51% plus in Soweto. Once we take Soweto, South Africa is gone. That’s why we are here.”
The EFF leader has disputed suggestions that young voters have shown a disinterest in politics. This is despite the IEC showing that only 280 000 people are registered to vote in the 18 to 19 demographics. However, Malema says young people are determined to exercise their right.
“The youth of South Africa are more than determined to register to vote. This perception that the youth doesn’t want to register is incorrect. The youth want to register, and they register to vote for the EFF. We want the youth to register, go and register to vote.”
Malema says the EFF attracts young people who are active and aware of the wrongs in the society:
Change in the country
Meanwhile, residents in Soweto say they are no longer hopeful as their votes have not yielded change in the country. They say they have been voting since the dawn of democracy in 1994 but have not seen their concerns being addressed.
These residents have appealed to eligible voters to register and add their voice and bring change to the country.
“We have been voting but we no longer have hope because a lot of the things that we have been fighting for as a nation, we are not seeing any change. So, maybe if we vote again there will be changes. I would appeal to the youth to come and stand up for our country because our country is sinking,” says one of the residents.
Another resident says, “Losing hope will not help with anything because losing hope will not bring change in your country. So you have to vote for there to be change. So, if you don’t vote and just sit, how will they hear your voice because your voice is your vote. That is what will bring change to the country.”
During the last election, 14 million eligible voters chose not to cast their ballots and as political parties take to the streets, they will seek to change the mindset of the electorate and convince them to vote next year.