11 January 2019

South Africa: Missing Youth Vote Leaves a Vacuum in SA Democracy

analysis

With the 2019 national elections looming, political parties and the Independent Electoral Commission need the youth, who are closing in on forming half of the population, to come out and vote. The former will need them in order to gain political power and the latter to legitimise the electoral process. And yet, young people don't seem to be interested in the politicking of the day.

On Thursday, the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) launched its 2019 National and Provincial Elections Campaign at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand after being granted an extension by the Constitutional Court.

The campaign, with a new focus on encouraging young and first-time voters to participate in the electoral process, was launched before the final voter registration weekend of 26-27 January, when the IEC hopes to finalise the registration of 1.6 million voters with missing addresses and attract young people to take part in the polls.

According to StatsSA 2017 figures, young people aged between 15 and 34 make up almost 25 million of the country's population. Electoral Commission Chairperson Glen Mashinini indicated that young people aged 18-19 make up only 16% of the voters roll, which is a sharp decline from 34%...

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