'Born-frees' soon a third of voters

By admin
01 September 2014

"Born-frees" are those born after the first democratic elections in 1994.

The "born-free" generation will make up a third of the voting population by the 2019 general election, a survey has found.

"While the born-frees currently make up a relatively small part of the voting population, they will become increasingly important in the years to come," TNS SA senior researcher Kambe Mwaba said on Monday.

Mwaba said the new generation of South African voters, born after the first democratic elections in 1994, became part of the voting population this year.

"The 2014 presidential elections that took place earlier this year presented the first opportunity for a potential 1.9 million born-frees to cast their vote, with 34 percent of these registering to vote," she said.

Around 2000 people across the country took part in the survey in February. It was representative of men and women from all race groups. Participants were asked about politics, politicians, and their education.

The survey found 83 percent of respondents believed it was important to be politically informed.

"While little difference was seen in voting and political attitudes when comparing born-frees and older people, differences were more strongly linked to race, followed by education level and region," said Mwaba.

"The data also suggests that while the youth may not have had the same experiences as their parents, they still listen to them, and... have an effect on which party they vote for."

Mwaba said it was encouraging to see their enthusiasm.

South Africa had one of the youngest populations in the world, with 40 percent of the current total population born post-1994.

"Of these, 1.9 million were eligible to vote, a relatively small proportion (around six percent) of the total voting population.

"However, only 34 percent registered to vote, which meant that over a million born frees did not register to vote in this year's elections."

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