DA leaders urge youth to register

2013-09-03 00:00

IN an attempt to woo young people to register in their numbers for the upcoming general elections, the national leaders of the Democratic Alliance Youth started their week-long visit to KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

The leaders, led by Federal Youth leader Mbali Ntuli, started with the KZN leg of their national tour in Newcastle where they met students at the Amajuba Further Education Training College.

The DA Youth national tour follows one undertaken by the ANC Youth League a few months ago to assess its structures.

KZN is the third province to be visited after Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Ntuli said they embarked on the tour to encourage young people to register because Independent Electoral Commission statistics showed that only 12% (185 025) of South Africans aged 18 to 19 were registered to vote and only 65% (4 909 421) aged 20 to 29 were registered.

“The youth leaders have seen it as important to go all out to encourage the youth to register so that they can vote next year,” Ntuli said.

She said that the DA youth body anticipated a tough election in the wake of violence meted out to their members recently.

“We have seen violence at DA Youth and Democratic Alliance Students Organisation events. Our members are stabbed and beaten up,” she said, referring to an incident at the University of Limpopo where Ntuli and DA Youth members were allegedly assaulted by members of the ANC-aligned SA Students Congress a week ago.

“We are making sure that our members are safe and should be wary of their safety as they prepare the structures for the elections next year.”

Ntuli said their first day in KZN had been without incident. “We hope we are not going to have any problems.”

She added that their visit to Newcastle had been met with enthusiasm as they drum up support for the DA and encourage people to register for the elections.

“We had a positive response from the young people. Many are enthusiastic to meet and talk to us. So far the response has been positive.”

In their week-long tour, DA youth leaders will meet with communities and encourage them to register to vote as well as conduct door-to-door campaigns and do walkabouts, among other things.

• mayibongwe.maqhina@witness.co.za

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