Kaya Youth on Voting in the 2016 Municipal Elections
Since 1994, South Africans have had nine opportunities to make their voices be heard, and the 10th opportunity looms. There have been five national elections and the fifth local election is coming up. With manifestos out of the way and all political parties gearing up for their final – and grandest – rallies this election season, we got the youth involved.
We asked four young people what they hope to achieve in their communities with their votes when they hit the polls on August 3 – what’s driving their votes? We also asked them whether they believe voting makes a difference.
“I would like to see the party I vote for giving the youth jobs. I have personally struggled with employment so I know that struggle. I think that if more young people were employed, there wouldn’t be as many problems in the neighbourhood because we would all be at work and would be earning something to live on.
“For me, voting doesn’t really bring change. We have voted in the past but there is still no job creation. We still need jobs and our neighbourhoods are not being taken care of in terms of basic services such as street lights.”
“I want to vote for change as justice should be served. I believe that in my community there’s a lot that still needs to be done. We see drug addicts every single day and no one seems to care because we are a black neighbourhood. I see my classmates becoming drug addicts because they lack inspiration and motivation and they have lost their dreams. I would like to see a rehabilitation centre opened in the Greater Soweto area.
“My vote will be for the party that is open to receiving ideas from citizens, as I think my ideas, and many of the youth’s ideas, can change this country. I believe I can change my community with my voice.”
“I would really like to see the elected party create more local job opportunities for young people. Even when our leaders say things are going well with job creation, it’s hard to believe because I haven’t seen the change in my immediate communities. I’m also voting for better education access even though it’s the national government’s responsibility, I will keep education in mind even in these local elections. Voting for a government that will deliver and more schools and libraries that will remain untorched.
“Sadly, I don’t believe voting works. Parties do what they want.”
“What I want to see improve is the methods of transportation we have access to in my area. Rea Vaya stations are far, that other bus company breaks down and we have to take two taxis to connect with the north and other areas of Gauteng. Restructuring the transport system would make many of our lives easier. I’m also worried about public safety in spaces such as parks where my younger siblings play. The next leadership needs to put money into community policing forums.
“I don’t believe that voting works because most of the time, parties don’t live up to their promises. But I still vote because each election is our chance to change things.”