SA’s parties coax youth to register

2014-02-11 00:00

POLITICAL parties said yesterday they will leave no stone unturned in encouraging young people to register to vote for them.

They said the young people were the future and constituted the majority of the population in the country.

On Sunday, the Independent Electoral Commission said of the 1,2 million people who registered at the weekend half were young people.

Prior to this weekend of voter registration, the electoral body’s statistics showed that 22,2% (428 127) of eligible voters aged 18-19 were registered out of an eligible population of 1,9 million, while 53,8% (5 103 401) of those aged 20-29 were registered out of 9,48 million.

A further 87,8% (about 6,1 million) of the young people aged 30-39 were registered.

Since there are still days left to register with the IEC, parties said they would intensify their efforts to reach out to the youths, to mobilise them to register.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said: “The youth are the majority in South Africa. It would be suicidal for any party to leave them out in their election campaign.”

He said the ruling party was employing various strategies to reach out to the youth through social media — Facebook, Twitter, Mixit and YouTube, among others.

The ANC Youth League also has an interface programme with young people, while Cosatu has factory floor programmes for its young members, Khoza said.

At the weekend, the ANC deployed some of its leaders to encourage young people, particularly students, to register in Durban.

Former police commissioner Bheki Cele took to the student residences with volunteers and Kwaito artists Oskidos, T’Zozo and Chynaman in tow.

DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said the people his party were concerned about in the elections were young people.

He said apart from using social media to reach them, the DA used door-to-door campaigns and its youth leaders have a programme targeting the youths.

The DA Youth also has “Speak Out Sessions” — a platform for young people to come together and speak out about their opinions on issues they are facing.

“They need to know there are leaders who must relate to them. This is what we have been able to do,” Maimane said, referring to the apparent nomination of their youth leaders as public representatives.

IFP’s spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko said the party’s election campaign targeted young people as “born-frees”, young people and young workers.

He also said the IFP, which will launch its manifesto on March 2 in Durban, has an outreach programme run by its youth brigade, which aimed to speak directly to young people.

NFP secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa said his party was reaching young people through door-to-door campaigns and visits to tertiary institutions and high schools, as well as using social media.

“We go all out to canvass the youth vote. Elections is about their future.

“Most are unemployed after graduating from university or technikons,” Khubuisa said.

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