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VOX POP: What is the state of democracy in SA?

One professor from Niger says South Africa's democracy is stronger than most countries in Africa, particularly West Africa.

The Electoral Commission’s (IEC) seminar on democracy in Sandton looked at much research that was conducted in voter participation and a growing trend of decreasing voter turnout and growing political disillusionment.

ALSO READ: Faith in IEC and political system is down – research shows

Attendees were asked a broad question: What do you think of the state of democracy in South Africa. Here is what they had to say…

PAMELA MDLANKOMO: I am happy with the state of democracy in South Africa. The only problem is people do not exercise their democratic right to vote. In my opinion, people should be forced to vote. The IEC should be allowed to go to schools and force people to register, tell them how important it is. People only don’t vote because there is mistrust toward political leaders. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
AZOLA DAYILE: The state of democracy is fair, considering the past we come from. But it could be better. It will be good to see political parties and politicians say where they get their funding from so that the law will help in the future. I also feel independent candidates are at an unfair disadvantage. Not just in funding. People in South Africa feel, incorrectly, that they have to vote for a political party and there are no alternatives.
AYANDA SISHI: I will not vote. We the young have mistrust towards political parties, so the research today has resonated with me. Like they said, young people are not disinterested, we feel voting makes no difference. Political parties speak at us rather than to us. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
DIMPHO LEKGEU: There is much dissatisfaction among the youth with our political leaders and the whole system as well. At Youth Lab, we have seen this. We as a society need to look at how we can reimagine our system to allow the youth to engage with political leaders all the time rather than only right before elections when they make themselves available. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
DR AISSA HALIDOU: Even though I am not from South Africa, I am proud of its democracy. Countries in West Africa still see a lot of control from their former colonial rulers. When there are global summits, their leaders sit quietly and say nothing. South Africa’s ministers speak up for the country. So while people say SA’s democracy is struggling, it certainly could be worse. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

The presentation can be found on the IEC website.

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