A survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in anticipation of next year’s elections indicates that South Africa’s youth abstention from voting is not rooted in apathy but rather in their discontent with government performance, political parties, and the democratic system.
The study, which covered various regions, highlighted the highest levels of disillusionment among young people in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The findings suggest that the youth perceives their individual votes as inconsequential, with a prevailing lack of trust in politicians perceived as indifferent, and poor socio-economic conditions being the most frequently cited reasons for abstaining from voting.
HSRC researcher Samela Mtyingizane shared insights from the study, “There are two silver linings here. The first is that there is a persistent belief in the importance of voting amongst many youths in our country… Close to 60% of our sample said ‘I do believe in voting but I will not vote anyway.’
“And yah a sizable minority believe it is the duty of us to vote so the youth want to vote but they are dissatisfied by various reasons when it comes to democracy and our government,” adds Mtyingizane.
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