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‘Young people have found a new way to participate in politics’

todayJune 19, 2023 83

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FEBRUARY 22, 2017 DISILLUSIONED: Unemployed graduates vent their frustration outside the East London City Hall as they have no jobs despite being qualified. Picture: ALAN EASON © Daily Dispatch

Rise Mzansi’s Youth Mobilisation Coordinator, Lawrence Manaka, says he believes that young people have not completely opted out of politics, but rather out of the political party system.

Manaka’s remarks come as South Africa gears up for the 2024 national elections, which come amid concerns that 14 million young South Africans eligible to vote did not register to vote in the 2021 local government polls.

Young people make up 35% of the country’s population and political commentators have insinuated that next year’s election results could be interesting, as more political parties have come the fore, aligning themselves with young people.

Manaka says the high number of the unregistered youth might appear as though young people are not actively participating in democracy, such notions are false.

“This is evident in Civil Society Organisations and most recently 4 000 young people took part in a march along with members of the National Youth Coalition.”

He further adds that this is why the party is looking at politics differently, as they always have the voter in mind first.

Xiluva party leader, Bongani Baloyi, says while it is deeply concerning that 14 million young South Africans are not registered to vote, the numbers are proof that the youth has no options available.
Xiluva, along with Rise Mzansi, are the parties that have joined the political arena and look to shake up the space next year.
Baloyi says factors such as youth unemployment have also contributed to young people not feeling like they should not participate in elections.
Youth unemployment remains one of the biggest problems facing the country. The first Quarterly Labour Force Survey figures indicate that youth unemployment for the first quarter stood at 46.5%.
Meaning young people between the ages of 15 and 24 and those between 25 and 34 had unemployment figures of 62.1% and 40.7%, respectively.
Baloyi says his party believes that encouraging young people to see the need and importance to participate in politics is a big market for them.

 

Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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