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Elections 2024: Students voice their expectations ahead of SA elections

Caxton Local Media talks to two students who express concern over the never-ending load-shedding and the lack of youth employment in the country.

WITH the upcoming general elections drawing near, voices from local students in higher education institutions have started to reflect a mix of hope and scepticism.

As the countdown to the much-anticipated elections has started, campaigning of political parties is in full swing. Many students around Durban have had mixed reactions to the upcoming polls and have shared their frustrations on the lack of employment opportunities for youth in the country. The youth demographic, which is those aged between 18 and 39, constitutes 42% (11.7 million) of registered voters in the upcoming general elections.

Also read: Elections 2024: IEC says its all systems go

According to the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), 14 889 candidates, nominated by 70 political parties, will contest 887 seats in the forthcoming election. For the first time, voters will receive three ballots instead of two on voting day. The first ballot will be used to elect the 200 members of the national assembly which is only contested by political parties. The second ballot will be used for electing the remaining 200 members of the assembly, with both political parties and independent candidates competing across all nine provinces. The third ballot will be used to elect members of the provincial legislatures, with political parties and independent candidates contesting, as well.

A UNISA student teacher, Luthando Mbanjwa (24), admits that he is going to vote this year.

He expresses concerns about the government’s failure to create more jobs for the youth. “I think, as young people, we have the prerogative to take an active step towards our future, and that means exercising our right to vote. And if you think historically, people have literally died for us to be able to have this right. And so taking voting for granted is essentially taking your future for granted,” he emphasises.

Mbanjwa says he would like to see an increase in employment opportunities and a complete end to load-shedding after the elections.

UKZN student teacher Sithembiso Mthwane, who says that he is going to vote in the upcoming elections.

Also read: Elections 2024: Senior community member shares about first voting experience

A student teacher from UKZN, Sithembiso Mthwane (25), said the upcoming elections are significant as they coincide with 30 years since the first democratic elections were held in 1994.

“I would like to see the new government put more emphasis on transformation when it comes to youth representation in parliament. It is very difficult for us as young people to relate because we do not see ourselves reflected. The people who are speaking for us in parliament are mostly 40 and above. It is difficult to find youth speaking to youth who have the power to make change, as well,” he said.

Mthwane believes that political positions are being controlled, which is denying young people access in parliament. “Yes, I am going to vote, and I have also decided on the party mainly because of their policies. They may not be as perfect as one envisages, but when you check the alternative parties – when they present their policies – they are not as clear,” he added.

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